Murder rates across US soared in 2021, highest since the mid-1990s

Most big U.S. cities are seeing murder numbers they haven't seen since the crime scourge of the mid-90s

Updated: January 19, 2022 - 8:53am

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The 2021 U.S. murder rate is estimated to be as high as it was 25 years ago when close to 20,000 people were killed annually across the nation, according to a recent news analysis report.

In 2021, the FBI estimates that the murder rate was 6.9 murders per 100,000 people, just a hair lower than the 1996 rate of 7.4 murders per 100,000 people. It's the closest the country has seen to figures that match the high-crime scourge of the 1990s, according to the analysis of crime data by The New York Times. 

Howard Safir, who served as the New York Police Department commissioner during the crime spike of the 90s, told Fox News that he believes last year's murder spike is at least partially attributable to "woke mentality that assumes that police are racist and brutal."

He also said a failure to defend police and prosecute crimes appropriately is not helping the issue.

"If crimes continue to be committed in large numbers, and police continue not to have the backing of politicians and the public, then they're not going to do their job the way they did when I was commissioner," he said.

In Chicago, the homicide figure hit 797, up 25 from 2020. Minneapolis also experienced numbers that its Police Department has not seen since 1995.

Los Angeles reached its highest murder figure in a decade-and-a-half with 397, and the NYPD reported 488 murders in 2021, up by nearly 200 annual killings since 2018.