Pennsylvania usually has a slightly higher murder rate than anywhere else in the country. It comes as no surprise then that when the number of murders climbed around the country in 2020, the murder rate in Pennsylvania increased, as well. What is not entirely clear is why the murder rate spiked so drastically. Law enforcement officials have given a few reasons for the increase.
In 2020, the number of murders grew by 27 percent across the country. That was the largest increase in recorded history. While that number may seem shocking, it is small when compared with the increase in Pennsylvania. In the Commonwealth, the number of murders increased by 49 percent, which was a level the state has not seen in decades. In Harrisburg particularly, the number of murders doubled, making it one of the worst years for violence in the city.
With such a spike in incidents, it is natural to wonder about the reason for it. As it turns out, there are several.
Last year was a grim year for everyone, and it seems as though the pandemic is also at least partly to blame for the increase in murders. People lost their jobs at record rates, and the economic downturn left many people feeling hopeless. In addition to that, people were also largely alone and without social interaction for the better part of 2020. People are social creatures and when they no longer have interaction with others, it can do a great deal of damage.
Gun sales also soared during the pandemic, which could have contributed to the increase in murder rates. People were scared, and many purchased firearms to protect themselves and their homes, particularly with the protesting and looting that occurred in the fall of 2020 and resulted in a curfew being implemented in Philadelphia.
Domestic violence also increased during the pandemic. Victims were locked inside with their abusers, without the ability to get out and seek the resources they normally would. When domestic violence becomes particularly severe, there is also an increased risk that a homicide will occur.
Fewer Police Officers
While the pandemic caused many problems that may have contributed to the higher murder rate, law enforcement agencies also had problems recruiting and retaining new officers. With a decreased police presence on the streets, people may feel bolder and break the law, including taking the life of another person. That may have also led to a spike in the murder rate.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer in Allentown Can Help with Your Charges
An increased murder rate means more people are facing charges. If you need help beating yours, our Allentown criminal defense lawyer at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin can provide the strategy you need. Our skilled attorneys have the necessary experience to challenge the prosecution at every stage, and know how to fight the forensic evidence that may have led to your charges. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.