Violent crime -- a broad category of offenses that includes rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide -- is on the rise in the United States. According to FBI data, there were a total of 1.3 million violent offenses reported in 2020, or 388 for every 100,000 people -- a 5% increase from 2019.
The uptick was led by a spike in homicide. The number of murders surged by nearly 30%, from 16,669 in 2019 to 21,570 in 2020, the largest year-over-year increase on record. The spike in murders came during a year of national turmoil marked by coronavirus lockdowns, mass protests against police misconduct, and a sharp rise in gun sales. These are the states buying the most guns.
Despite the increase, the national violent crime rate remains well below the highs reported in the 1990s. Still, crime is ultimately a local phenomenon, and in some parts of the country, violence is much more common than in others.
There were 174,026 violent crimes reported in California in 2020, more than in any other state. Adjusting for population, however, California's violent crime rate of 442 incidents for every 100,000 people is 16th highest among states.
Despite a 52% surge in homicides, California's overall violent crime rate changed little from 2019, climbing by just 0.2%. The state's rising murder rate was offset by declines in reported cases of rape and robbery.
All crime data used in this story is from the FBI and is for the year 2020.
|Rank||State||Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2020||Total violent crimes, 2020||Total homicides, 2020||1-yr. change in violent crime rate (%)|