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.
The Northeastern U.S. tends to have far lower rates of violent crime than most the rest of the country. Though Pennsylvania has the highest violent crime rate of any state in the Northeast, it is closely in line with the national rate. There were 49,793 violent crimes reported in Pennsylvania in 2020 -- or 390 for every 100,000 people.
No state reported a greater year-over-year increase in violence than Pennsylvania. Driven by spikes in aggravated assault and homicide, Pennsylvania's violent crime rate climbed 27.1% from 2019 to 2020.
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 (%)|