Crime experts fear summer 2021 violence could be worse than last year as shooting, murder uptick starts early
369 people were shot in the past 72 hours as of Friday afternoon, the Gun Violence Archive says
Police should brace for a potentially more violent summer than last year as crime trends show the bloodshed in some parts of the country, such as New York City, picked up earlier than is typically expected, analysts and experts tell Fox News.
"It's not getting any better," Joseph Giacalone, an adjunct professor with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Fox News. "Let's put it this way: New York City is already ahead of last year's pace, but last year, the homicides and shootings really started spiking at the end of May and into June. So that will be the real tale of the tape, so to speak, to see what's happening over there."
Giacalone said the rise in crime "seems to be centered around the urban environments and the cities."
"So, if you look at New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, you name the big cities and they're having huge problems," Giacalone added.
Giacalone, a former sergeant for the New York Police Department (NYPD) who has been tracking the crime numbers, said the fast-approaching summer months generally bring out "more crime because there are more people out there."
"We have … the pandemic ending. People want to get out and do things again," he said. "And it's just a cocktail for disaster to some."
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 369 people were shot in the past 72 hours as of Friday afternoon.
As of Sunday, the NYPD reported a 350% increase in murders for the week prior compared to the same time year-over-year, statistics show. Shootings were up 166% in April compared to April 2020, police previously said.
In Chicago, the most recently available crime statistics show that murder was up 56% from April 26 to May 2 compared to the same time last year, the Chicago Police Department said. The number of shooting incidents was also up 40% during the same time frame year-over-year, police said.
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And in Los Angeles, murders year-to-date as of May 8 were up 30.9% from the same time last year, while reports of shots fired incidents increased by 58% and the number of shooting victims was up 67.2%, Los Angeles Police Department statistics show.
When asked his opinion on how trends so far this year might reflect summer 2021 crime trends, Giacalone said this summer is "going to be worse than last year, for sure."
"The numbers are already through the roof," he continued. Speaking on the Big Apple, he said: "We’re having numbers coming up to the warm weather where the city is up 200% in shootings and shooting victims every week."
He said his belief "absolutely" applies to other cities nationwide.
"You have a situation where you have many people who probably still should be in jail that aren't. You have the mental health crisis, which has always been it has only been exacerbated by the pandemic and the release of prisoners early. So, you know, to say that everything is fine is basically whistling past the graveyard."
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John Roman, a senior fellow at the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC) studying crime control and justice programs, wrote in a Jan. 31 substack post that he believed summer 2021 would be "abnormally violent."
"The general sense of the media is that last summer was unusually dangerous because of protests – either because the protests themselves caused a wave of lawlessness, or because the lawlessness of the police delegitimized authority," Roman wrote.
"I argued that a simpler explanation was more likely true: that large numbers of young men in disadvantaged places were separated from work and school and positive institutions, and that the disruption in their routine activities led to violence with other young men in the exact same situation, suitable targets with whom there were long-simmering beefs, just right there, just up the street."
Roman argued that he thinks "the effects from 2020 – whether they caused the 2020 violence or not" will lead to more violence this year. He provided "headlines" or factors as including the "increased perception of police illegitimacy," and the lack of available resources and programs for people, including "young people in the most disadvantaged communities."
However, Michael Lawlor, an associate professor for the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven, said he was doubtful that violent crime levels would exceed those of summer 2020.
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"Last summer was a pretty significant spike given the more recent trend," Lawlor told Fox News when reached by phone on Thursday. "This summer will probably be higher than 2019, because 2019 was, for the most part, a historic low, as was the five or six years prior to that."
Lawlor previously served in the Connecticut House of Representatives and is an appointed member of the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners and the statewide Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council.
He said the uptick in shootings and murders is being reported in cities of all sizes and regardless of whether or not the jurisdictions are hard or soft on crime.
"Police across the country have been doing such a good job of preventing this type of stuff in recent years," Lawlor added. "Once they're able to do that stuff again, my guess is they'll be effective in doing it."