News & Politics

Twelve Cities Have Already Set Records for Homicides in 2021

AP Photo/Ben Gray

According to ABC News, 12 U.S. cities have set an annual record for the number of homicides and there are still three weeks to go in the year.

What makes the figures so astonishing is that 2020 saw a 30 percent spike in homicides overall. Many experts were expecting those numbers to decline after the nation began to reopen after the pandemic. Instead, the overall increase suggests that other factors unrelated to the pandemic are at work.

Chicago leads the nation with 739 homicides at the end of November — a 3 percent increase in 2021 after a 50 percent increase in 2020.

It’s a similar story across the nation.

Other major cities that have surpassed yearly homicide records are St. Paul, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Tucson, Arizona; Toledo, Ohio; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Austin, Texas; Rochester, New York; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, which broke its record back in August.

“The community has to get fed up,” Capt. Frank Umbrino, of the Rochester Police Department, said at a news conference after the city of just over 200,000 people broke its 30-year-old record on Nov. 11. “We’re extremely frustrated. It has to stop. I mean, it’s worse than a war zone around here lately.”

Robert Boyce, retired chief of detectives for the New York Police Department and an ABC News contributor, has a ridiculously simple explanation.

“Nobody’s getting arrested anymore,” Boyce said. “People are getting picked up for gun possession and they’re just let out over and over again.”

Christopher Herrmann, an assistant professor in the Department of Law & Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, said the decrease in arrests could be attributed to the large number of police officers who retired or resigned in 2020 and 2021.

A workforce survey released in June by the Police Executive Research Forum found the retirement rate in police departments nationwide jumped 45% over 2020 and 2021. And another 18% of officers resigned, the survey found, a development which coincided with nationwide social justice protests and calls to defund law enforcement agencies following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

Police officers — especially in larger cities — are walking on eggshells when it comes to enforcing the law. They know that there are dozens of pairs of eyes on them during every traffic stop, every confrontation. They also know that there are dozens of activists and radical lawyers ready to deliberately misinterpret every move they make, every video image that’s recorded. To forestall that, they are buried in paperwork and loaded down with silly, dangerous, and unnecessary rules.

Of course, the criminals know this and take full advantage of the situation by breaking the law with impunity, daring police to arrest them.

Adding to the frustration and danger is that many big-city police departments are woefully understaffed.

On average, the survey found that law enforcement agencies are currently filling only 93% of the authorized number of positions available and Herrmann said many departments have been hampered in hiring because of an inability to get large classes into police academies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experienced officers are resigning faster than they can be replaced. And the “defund the police” movement has put a crimp into police budgets while activists toy with “reforming” them.

It’s a perfect storm of stupidity and incompetence that is costing thousands of lives across the country.