What’s Behind the Increasing Trends in Shootings and Violence Nationwide?
You may or may not have noticed this startling trend: violent crimes in the United States have increased since 2019, with murders up nearly 40%. What’s behind this increased violence? Will the trend continue? Who can be held liable if you or a loved one get shot?
Let’s take a closer look at what is behind the spike in crime and whether the increased violence is predicted to continue.
If you or your loved one were shot on somebody else’s property, such as a bar, restaurant, shopping mall, or somewhere else, contact the experienced crime victim lawyers at SteinLaw for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or for the death of your loved one.
Violent Crime Statistics
After falling for nearly 30 years, the annual murder rate in the United States has climbed from 5 murders per 100,000 people in 2019 to an estimated 6.9 murders per 100,000 people in 2021 – a homicide rate not seen since the mid-1990s. Interestingly, other crimes are down at the same time as murders and violent crimes are up.
In most American cities, the majority of the violence is located in a small segment of neighborhoods – usually impoverished minority communities. Black Americans were 8 times as likely to be murder victims in 2020 as their white counterparts.
What’s Causing the Increase in Violence?
Experts are divided about why murders spiked in 2020 and 2021, but there are three likely explanations.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
The pandemic disrupted every aspect of life, including things like:
- Schools closed and could not keep unruly teens distracted
- Social supports and services that help keep crime down disappeared
- A broad sense of chaos and disorder may have fueled a “moral holiday,” where people disregarded laws.
One problem with this theory is that the start of the murder spike was in May and June of 2020, several months after COVID began to spread and weeks after many places lifted lockdowns and certain restrictions. Additionally, other countries did not experience similar violent crime spikes during the pandemic.
Changes in Policing
The racial justice protests and riots that began after George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer may have contributed to the murder spike. At the same time as much of the public lost confidence in the police, officers may have pulled back on proactive anti-violence practices due to fear of being caught in the next viral video.
Murders also spiked after protests in policing in 2015 and 2016, lending support to the idea that changes in policing have contributed to the spiking murder rate.
Americans bought significantly more guns in 2020 and 2021 than in previous years and appeared to use them in crime more quickly. It seems Americans were also more likely to illegally carry guns. With more guns in more hands, increased gun violence seems inevitable.
In the end, it is likely all three of these factors came together to cause the perfect storm of factors for an increase in violent crime.
Will Violence Keep Increasing Nationwide?
As of April 12, 2022, the year-to-date murder rate is up 1% in major US cities, with significantly higher spikes in some places. Many factors that contributed to the spike still linger, such as troubled community-police relations and disrupted social services. Inflation, increasing poverty rates, and gang violence due to the worsening drug crisis may also contribute to a continued increase in violent crime.
Who Can Be Held Liable if I Get Shot?
Property owners owe their visitors a duty of care to keep them safe from foreseeable harm. If a property owner – like a restaurant, bar, apartment complex, or shopping mall – knows their property is at risk for a shooting or other violent crime at their location based on local crime rates or other factors, they need to take measures to try to prevent such violence. If they fail to keep their patrons safe, they may be held liable under premises liability laws due to negligent security.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is an area of Florida law saying property owners may be held liable for foreseeable crimes or injuries that occur on their property due to unsafe conditions. How can you determine whether a property owner should have foreseen a crime could happen on their property? Some factors include:
- High local crime rate
- Whether similar attacks have happened at their – or similar – properties
- If the perpetrator was a known threat
What Is Negligent Security?
As part of premises liability, property owners must secure their business in ways that help prevent foreseeable crime. An increased likelihood of crime occurring on the property means the owner must put more security measures into place to help secure the property. Some things that may qualify as negligent security include:
- Missing, broken, or nonexistent security cameras
- Faulty or inadequate lighting
- No emergency stations
- Faulty gates
- Lack of needed on-site security
If you or a loved one gets injured due to a business or property owner providing negligent security, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a professional crime victim lawyer to discuss your case.
Contact a Florida Crime Victim Rights Lawyer
If you or your loved one have been caught up in the crime wave of the last couple of years and were shot, contact the expert crime victims’ rights lawyers at SteinLaw Injury Lawyers. We will give you a free consultation to discuss your case and help you discover whether you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries or the wrongful death of your loved one.
With locations across South Florida, SteinLaw is here to help you get the compensation you deserve for somebody else’s negligence.