The horrific mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas over the weekend represents just the latest in a series of brutal gun massacres that have occurred across the United States. Between Sutherland Springs, the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and the tragic events in Las Vegas barely over a month ago, three of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred in the last two years.
Mass shootings like the one over the weekend tend to receive the greatest press coverage, but they only represent a tiny fraction of the violence that occurs in most major cities over the course of a given year. The FBI reported Monday that crime levels rose once again in 2016. This marks the second consecutive year rates have risen, following nearly two decades of steady declines. There were 1.2 million violent crimes reported in 2016, up 4.1% from 2015. Rising crime in just a few major cities largely drove the spike in violence nationwide.
> Violent crime rate: 1,374 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 148
> Poverty rate: 21.3%
> Unemployment rate: 4.5%
Violent crime is much more common among extremely low-income population groups. In Indianapolis, 10.1% of households earn less than $10,000 a year, compared to the national share of 7.2%. There were 1,374 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Indianapolis in 2016, more than three times the national rate. A city’s high violent crime rate can often be traced to a few high-poverty, crime-ridden neighborhoods, where gun violence can increase the incidence of homicide and other violent crime. In Indianapolis, many of the most dangerous neighborhoods are near the city center, such as Martindale-Brightwood and Warren Park.
As is often the case in cities with high violent crime rates, property crime is also a serious problem in Indianapolis. For example, there were roughly 1,180 burglaries per 100,000 residents in the city in 2016, approximately 2.5 times the national burglary rate.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed violent crime rates in major U.S. cities from the FBI’s 2016 Uniform Crime Report. Violent crime includes all offenses involving force or threat of force and is broken into four categories: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. For every 100,000 U.S. residents, 386 violent crimes were committed in 2016.
One reason behind the violence in these cities — which at a rate of well over 1,000 cases per 100,000 people makes them among the most dangerous in the world — is weak police-community relationships.
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., John Roman, a senior fellow with the non-partisan research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, said, “ a community that has demonstrated in the streets, that doesn’t trust the police the way it used to” — places like Chicago, Baltimore, and San Bernardino — “… people won’t come forward as witnesses, they won’t talk to the police about why the violence is occurring.” In such conditions, Roman explained, crime tends to escalate.