Following the “Summer of Love” 2020 riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death, America saw an uptick in murders. Some experts have linked the killings directly to the riots and the “Defund the Police” movement.
Murders in 2020 saw an increase nationwide, with African-Americans being disproportionately affected, with a 43% increase in murders compared to the previous 10-year average.
Speaking to Fox News, Hannah Meyers, the director of the policing and public safety initiative at the Manhattan Institute said, “Certainly, the protests and riots mid-2020 after the death of George Floyd followed a pattern of spiking violence that we’ve seen following past viral police incidents, such as the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. This pattern has been termed the ‘Ferguson Effect’: police pull back while violent crime spikes precipitously.”
According to data from the FBI, more black people were murdered in 2020 than in 2019, with the increase beginning in the months following Floyd’s death. The data shows that 7,484 black Americans were murdered in 2019, increasing to 9,941 in 2020, an increase of nearly 30% in one year.
The number of white people murdered also increased, but not to the same proportions as blacks. FBI stats show that 7,043 white people were murdered in 2020, that being 3,000 less than the number of black people killed in the same year. But both murder rates were an increase over the previous 10-year period.
“Between 2010 and 2019, there was an average of 5,954 White murders, which is roughly 16% lower than the 10-year average of Black murders. During that same time period, an average of 6,927 Black Americans were murdered each year, meaning Black murders shot up by 43% in 2020 compared to the previous 10-year average,” Fox News reported.
White Americans saw an 18% increase in murders in 2020 over the previous 10-year average, as opposed to the 30% increase in black murder rates over the same period.
Georgia State University criminology professor Volkan Topalli attributed the rise in murders to the pandemic.
“The pandemic … revealed something that most of us already knew, which was that we have segments of society that don’t have the advantages of other segments of society,” he added. “They’re just beneath the surface and the pandemic sort of, you know, as with a hurricane … has revealed the disparities.”
Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald argued against Topalli, writing in the Wall Street Journal in 2016 that “the Black Lives Matter narrative about racist, homicidal cops has produced virulent hostility in the streets.”
While the FBI statistics suggest that it is typical for crime to peak during the spring and summer months, the months following Floyd’s death saw a concerning rise in murders, peaking in July, superseding previous years.