Data Shows America's Crime Spiral Correlates With BLM Riots, Not the COVID Pandemic

AP Photo/Noah Berger

Readers of the New York Times — once legitimately known as America’s newspaper of record — were recently told in a news story that a new report from the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) claimed a 9% drop in the homicide rate in 30 major U.S. cities since the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic in early 2020.


“The latest data at least offers a hopeful sign that the increases in violent crime during the pandemic were not the start of a new era of steadily rising crime, as many experts have worried,” New York Times reporter Tim Arango told readers.

A little further on in the story, Arango points out:

“Many agree that the disruptions of the pandemic — the social isolation, the closure of schools and jobs lost — likely led to an increase in crime.

“More contentious is an unproven theory cited by some experts that amid the social unrest that followed the murder of Mr. Floyd, officers in some places pulled back from enforcement and some citizens, distrustful of law enforcement, stopped working with police.”

But it is hardly an “unproven theory” offered “by some experts” that violent crime began spiraling upward across the nation in 2020 in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death.

In fact, there are multiple data-driven analyses by highly credible experts that point to the onset of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) violence and protests, not “the disruptions of the pandemic — the social isolation, the closure of schools and jobs lost” described by Arango as the prime factor.

As Just Facts research institute chief James Agresti notes, “IN FACT, the surge in killings doesn’t correlate to the Covid-19 pandemic but precisely to the start of the 2020 ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests and riots.”


Here’s how Agresti put it in the Just Facts Daily months before the Times report:

  • A study in the journal Crime Science found that despite over one million reported COVID cases and 80,000 COVID-related deaths in the U.S. during the first two months of the pandemic, “there were no significant changes in the frequency of serious assaults in public” or “serious assaults in residences.”
  • Murder rates in England actually declined in 2020 and 2021, even though the nation is demographically similar to the U.S. and had slightly higher COVID death rates throughout this period.
  • A study published by the University of California Press documents that the recent rise of murders does not accord chronologically or geographically with the onset of the pandemic.

Agresti continued his analysis with a statistical point that ought to send chills up every American voter’s spine:

“Murders have become so common over the past two years that if the murder rate remains at the 2021 level, one out of every 179 people in the U.S. will eventually be murdered. Yet, certain politicians and media outlets are downplaying this bloodshed, while others are blaming it on Covid—a claim at odds with the facts.”

In case you question that 1-of-every-179 datapoint, Just Facts Daily tells readers “the methodology used by Just Facts to compute this figure was developed by a licensed actuary, double-checked by a Ph.D. mathematician, and triple-checked by a Ph.D. biostatistician.”


The most basic problem underlying all national crime rate reporting is the fact that the FBI’s data has for decades been plagued with problems, especially the failure of local police departments to report fully and accurately using the same assumptions and definitions that underlie the bureau’s analyses.

Further complicating things is the fact that at the outset of the Biden administration, the FBI redesigned its crime data reporting website. The revised site requires at least half a dozen clicks just to find, to cite but one example, the national homicide rate, according to Agresti.

Related: Riot Act! NYPD Ordered to Pay Mad $tacks to George Floyd Insurrectionists

Just Facts is an invaluable resource for anybody with an interest in the news, public policy, and politics. Readers are encouraged to check it out, especially the Question of the Day email. People in the media, mainstream and alternative alike, would especially do well to make good and frequent use of Agresti’s superb resource.


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