Across the U.S., 2021 was a bad year for crime. The New York City Police Department reported a 4.1% increase in homicides over 2020. Chicago’s increase was 5% and Los Angeles suffered a 13% rise in killings. The 2021 figures follow a scary 2020, when the nationwide homicide rate (6.5 per 100,000) was the highest in 23 years.
The pandemic, along with dubious criminal-justice system reforms, undoubtedly made things worse. Covid made police reluctant to interact with suspects except when making arrests for serious crimes. Wholesale releases from jails like New York’s Rikers Island put offenders back on the streets. Some states adopted bail reforms that kept offenders from jail entirely. It didn’t help that a new crop of progressive prosecutors, in misguided efforts to reduce so-called mass incarceration, declined to prosecute numerous misdemeanors and agreed to light sentences even for some violent felons.