Homicides in the United States continue an alarming growth, with some seen increases not seen in six decades. Both large and small cities throughout the country have seen tragic upticks in murders. Some cite the pandemic. Others note the increase in gun purchases to an all-time high.
Regardless of the cause for the surge, many areas of the country have surged well beyond the national average.
Two Colorado communities made the list. One in the top five and the other in the bottom five.
Greeley’s growth in homicides
With a population of approximately 331,000, Greely’s 2020 homicide rate ranks fourth, with statistics skyrocketing 220% or 4.8 per 1,000 people compared to 2019 that saw 1.6 per 100,000 residents. Violent crimes in 2020 were at 324 per 100,000 people.
The city is one of four large metropolitan areas where murders more than tripled in the past year. With 16 homicides last year, up from five in 2019, the overall numbers remain under the national rate of 6.5 per 100,000.
All types of other violent crimes also grew, becoming dangerously close to a 50% increase, or ten times the national rate. The pandemic played a role, according to the city’s chief of police, who specifically cited inmates released from incarceration to facilitate better on-site social distancing measures.
Colorado Springs in the top 50
While near the bottom of the national list at 47, a 42.4% increase is still concerning considering the overall population of more than 750,000. Last year saw homicides grow to 6.2 per 10,000 (47 murders), up from 2019 that ended that year at 4.4, totaling 33 deaths.
Violent crimes numbered 3,661 or 487 per 100,000 people. Several factors were cited, including increased instances of domestic violence and drug trafficking.