SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio has seen a spike in homicide cases compared to last year despite a global pandemic and the ushering in of the quarantine era.
The Wall Street Journal reported that San Antonio ranks at No. 4 among U.S. cities with the largest spikes, behind Austin at No. 1 and Fort Worth at No. 3.
This city has seen a 33.96% increase in killings in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the San Antonio Police Department’s uniform crime report. Austin’s increase is the most dramatic at 64.95% compared to last year.
SAPD states 71 homicides occurred between January-June 2020. During that time span last year, 53 were reported.
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A sharp rise in homicides this year is hitting large U.S. cities across the country, signaling a new public-safety risk during the coronavirus pandemic, and amid recession and a national backlash against police tactics. ⠀ ⠀ The murder rate is still low compared with previous decades, and other types of serious crime have dropped in the past few months. But researchers, police and some residents fear the homicide spike, if not tamed, could threaten an urban renaissance spurred in part by more than two decades of declining crime. ⠀ ⠀ A Wall Street Journal analysis of crime statistics among the nation’s 50 largest cities found that reported homicides were up 24% so far this year, to 3,612. Shootings and gun violence also rose, even though many other violent crimes such as robbery fell. Thirty-six of the 50 cities studied saw homicide rise at double-digit rates, representing all regions of the country.⠀ ⠀ At the link in our bio, read about the confluence of forces that police, researchers, mayors and community leaders see at work in the homicide spike.
A total of 105 homicides occurred throughout 2019 in San Antonio.
The WSJ states that while the rate of homicides is still relatively low compared to previous decades, murders have increased by 24% so far this year.
Thirty-six of the country’s 50 largest cities had killings increase by double digits, the report says.
“I was surprised at the consistency of the increase across all of the different cities,” Jens Ludwig, a University of Chicago professor and director of its Crime Lab, told the WSJ.
SAPD has not commented on the spike in cases, but San Antonio psychiatrist Dr. Harry Croft provided reasons for heightened violence.
He told KSAT 12 News that “anger, irritability, agitation, domestic violence all seems to be in increased in many populations.”
“Being stuck together, having the fears not only of the virus, but of money issues, and work issues, and then having the children at home all day, every day. All of those things may increase violence,” Croft said.
Aggravated assault cases increased by nearly 9% from January-June 2019 to the same time this year.