St. Louis, Baltimore Lead in Homicide Rates

While the overall murder rate still remains far below the one recorded in the ’90s, the increase in 2016 was the greatest recorded in nearly two decades.

St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit and Cleveland have the nation’s highest homicide rates taking population into account, The Trace reports. The national murder rate has declined since the early 1990s, but since 2015, the rate has been ticking up. In 2016, the national rate was 5.4 killings per 100,000 people, a year-over-year increase of 8.6 percent. While the overall murder rate still remains far below those recorded in the ’90s, that’s the greatest recorded in nearly two decades. In Chicago, the murder rate nearly doubled between 2014 and 2016. Milwaukee and Louisville saw comparable spikes.

There is no city more synonymous with violence in the U.S. than Chicago, but on a per-capita basis — murders per 100,000 residents — the city regularly experiences fewer killings than places whose murder rates get far less national attention. “Because Chicago has so many people, it can get a murder every day, and that gets people’s attention,” says Fordham law Prof. John Pfaff. “When you focus on numbers, not rates, Chicago ends up looking worse because you forget just how big a city it is.” >Mass shootings, though comprising less than 2 percent of all gun deaths, can skew a local murder rate so drastically that some cities decline to include fatalities from gun rampages when reporting to the FBI. Las Vegas excluded victims of the 2017 Mandalay Bay massacre from its homicide counts.