Gun violence and homicides spike in US as COVID-19 ravages country
Cities across the United States are grappling with a surge in shootings and homicides, with US experts saying the coronavirus pandemic and police brutality have helped fuel gun violence.
The killings are happening in cities large and small, Democrat and Republican-led. Authorities and some experts say there is no one clear-cut reason for the spike.
The main reasons cited for the rising violence include the social and economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 virus, and an unprecedented rise in unemployment Another reason is the low faith in US law enforcement amid police killings of Black people.
New York, America’s most populous city, had recorded 447 killings as of Tuesday, a 41% increase over last year and the largest number since 2011.
Washington, DC, America’s capital with a population of about 700,000, has seen more than 187 homicides this year, eclipsing last year's total by more than 20.
“I’ve not seen a spike like this.?” Detroit Police Chief James Craig told The Associated Press.
Los Angeles, which has 4 million residents, had 322 homicides as of December 12 — up 30.4% from 247 at the same point last year, Killings in Chicago, meanwhile, are up about 56% this year.
The COVID-19 virus exacerbated all of the frustration and anger that some in Black and Latino communities already were dealing with, according to retired Michigan State University sociology professor Carl Taylor.
“The COVID has been absolutely the trigger of an everlasting bomb that’s exploding in many parts of our community,” he said.
The virus has killed more than 300,000 people across the US, with African Americans hardest hit.