US

After years of declining crime, some large cities report spike in homicides, other violence

  • FILE - In this July 6, 2015, file photo, Antonio Brown, father of Amari Brown, speaks near a sign honoring his son, in Chicago. Seven-year-old Amari was among three people who were shot and killed overnight during a weekend outbreak of gun-related violence in Chicago. Homicides and shooting incidents in Chicago are up roughly 20 percent from the same period last year. (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee, File)

    FILE - In this July 6, 2015, file photo, Antonio Brown, father of Amari Brown, speaks near a sign honoring his son, in Chicago. Seven-year-old Amari was among three people who were shot and killed overnight during a weekend outbreak of gun-related violence in Chicago. Homicides and shooting incidents in Chicago are up roughly 20 percent from the same period last year. (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 6, 2015, file photo, a Chicago police officer rests his hand on his forehead at the scene where a man was shot in the face in Chicago. Homicides and shooting incidents in Chicago are up roughly 20 percent from the same period last year.  (Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune via AP, File)

    FILE - In this July 6, 2015, file photo, a Chicago police officer rests his hand on his forehead at the scene where a man was shot in the face in Chicago. Homicides and shooting incidents in Chicago are up roughly 20 percent from the same period last year. (Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this July 7, 2015 photo, authorities work the scene of a double homicide in Milwaukee. Police departments across the country that in recent years have been boasting about plummeting crime numbers now find themselves scrambling to deal with something they haven't seen in years: More bloodshed. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via AP)

    In this July 7, 2015 photo, authorities work the scene of a double homicide in Milwaukee. Police departments across the country that in recent years have been boasting about plummeting crime numbers now find themselves scrambling to deal with something they haven't seen in years: More bloodshed. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Police departments across the country that have spent years boasting about plummeting crime numbers are now scrambling to confront something many agencies have not seen in decades: more bloodshed.

Houston, St. Louis, New Orleans and Baltimore have all seen significant spikes in the number of homicides this year. The totals are up in New York and Chicago, too.

In Los Angeles, the number of slayings dropped slightly, but the number of shooting victims jumped more than 18 percent. And in Milwaukee, a homicide on Wednesday put the total for the year at 84 — just two fewer than happened in all of 2014.

Peter Scharf is a professor at Louisiana State University who tracks homicides in New Orleans. He says New Orleans is in "scary territory."