The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released its Uniform Crime Reporting program compilation for 2015, disclosing a 3.9 percent increase in violent crimes and a 2.6 percent decrease in property crimes.

1,197,704 violent crimes occurred in the United States in the 2015, which compared to 2006, is lower by a 16.5 percent. Firearms were involved in seven out of every ten murders, and in four out of every ten robberies. Even if 2015 showed an overall increase in crime, it is still the third-lowest year for violent crime in 20 years. Some argue that the FBI’s reports are biased as there is not sufficient information regarding how police officers justify the use of force when confronting a criminal.

Police secure a crime scene in Bushwick. Image credit: Reuters.

FBI Director Jim Comey called for greater transparency in law enforcement and for a wider output of information regarding the accountability of crime. He stated that the FBI will be looking forward to use a database to register the use of force by authorities and obtain reliable and timely data to help understand the implications of each crime.

The increase in murders may be due to the worsening distrust from marginalized communities toward law enforcement officers, where the shooting of victims in dubious circumstances has often led to protests and riots.

There are almost 100 nonfatal shootings in Chicago per 100,000 people

Coincidentally, the increase in murder rates appear to be centralized in cities such as Baltimore and Cleveland, where the police has had to deal with tensions with civilians. Cities with predominantly African-American populations are those with the largest amount of murders. One of these is Chicago, where 316 homicides occurred in the first half of 2016 and almost 1,000 policemen have been killed since 2014.

Chicago appears to be the city with the most anticipated increase in violence due to its high concentration of poverty and criminal activity. Because there is no reliable employment and a high rate of poverty, people tend to resort to crime to sustain themselves, which then translates to higher murder rates and a reduction in the availability of police officers.

Gang violence has also thrived and, although the homicide rate has been greatly reduced from 1995 up to 2005, it shows steady upward spikes and it appears to be on an ascending trajectory for the upcoming months. The longest period that Chicago had without homicides in 2015 was five days. The city reached almost 100 nonfatal shootings per 100,000 people. Even if Chicago is notable for its strict gun laws, nearby states allow for easy gun purchase.

“What has happened in the course of the last year or two is attention to police-community relations and controversies over police use of deadly force, especially involving unarmed African-Americans,” Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told The Wall Street Journal.

Source: FBI