America’s murder rate is rising at its fastest pace since the early 1970s

MURDER, which grew rarer for 20 years, is on the rise again. But by how much? In 2015, the number of murders increased by 11% nationwide. During 2016, an escalation of gang violence in Chicago left 764 people dead in a city where 485 had been killed a year before. A dispute ensued over whether the Windy City was simply an isolated example or a barometer of a wider problem.

National statistics for 2016 will not be released for eight months, but to get an early sense of the answer The Economist has gathered murder statistics for 2016 for the 50 cities with the most murders. These places contain 15% of the country’s population and around 36% of murder victims. Our numbers show that, in 2016, murders increased in 34 of the cities we tracked. Three cities experienced a spike in deaths sharper than the 58% suffered by Chicago. Since cities tend to reflect the country as a whole, this suggests that the murder rate is rising at its fastest pace since the early 1970s.

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By the numbers

The apparent rise in hate-crime since the election is likely to be short lived

ON THE morning of November 18th, two swastikas and the words “Go Trump” were found daubed in a children’s playground in Brooklyn. This is one of 360 hate crimes being investigated by New York’s police department in 2016, an increase of 35% over 2015. Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, has set up a special unit to tackle the “explosion” of such crimes in the state. In the Senate last month, Harry Reid, the minority leader, said that Donald Trump’s election had “sparked a wave of hate crimes across America. This is a simple statement of fact.” But look more closely and the facts become more difficult to establish.

Read the full article on Economist.com

I shall post some of the underlying code to Github in due course.