The summer of 2020 has been marred by insecurity surrounding the economy and public health along with ongoing protests that have turned destructive and violent in cities across the nation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a combination of crises has led to brewing violence and rising murder rates in an array of cities across America.
“Tensions are running high”
The murder rate is up an average of 24% in dozens of cities, with Chicago leading the list. Philadelphia, New York City, Houston, Los Angeles, and Dallas follow.
As the Journal reported, the increase comes as life in America has become extremely volatile for many citizens — especially in poor communities.
“Lockdowns and recession also mean tensions are running high and streets have been emptied of eyes and ears on their communities. Some attribute the rise to an increase in gang violence,” the newspaper explained.
Experts spoke to the Journal about the possibility that the coronavirus lockdowns have shattered the social structure in many neighborhoods as schools and churches remain closed, leaving criminal gangs to fill some of the gaps.
Jeff La Blue, a spokesman for the Fresno, California, police department, said that gangs are “built around structure and lack thereof” and have benefited from recent events.
“Sidelining of police”
“With schools being closed and a lot of different businesses being closed, the people that normally would have been involved in positive structures in their lives aren’t there,” he said.
La Blue went on to say that criminals have been “emboldened” by the “sidelining of police” that has played out in communities across the U.S. amid protests that stemmed from George Floyd’s death in Minnesota earlier this year.
Some pundits have linked the increase in homicides not only to the coronavirus-related shutdowns, but also to the local political leaders.
John Nolte, writing for Breitbart, noted that Democrats are in charge of many of these cities. On a larger scale, the party has largely advocated for extended lockdowns as well as the protests that have sparked outbursts of violence and destruction.
While leftist leaders would never campaign on increased violence, some say their policies make such an outcome inevitable.