Prison Fellowship Issues Statements Regarding FBI Report Citing the Largest Single Year Increase in Homicide Crimes, Despite Decrease in Overall Crime Rate by 5 Percent from 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C.—On May 18, 2021, Prison Fellowship®, the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, is issuing the following statements concerning the new FBI Crime Statistics for 2020:
"2020 brought hardship to all Americans, particularly families and communities impacted by rising deadly violence," said James Ackerman, President and CEO of Prison Fellowship. "We cannot solve this problem without the action of the local church to care for victims and be a voice for justice that restores."
"This increase in violent crime, particularly homicide crimes, should cause us to mourn. Deadly violence dishonors the innate, God-given dignity of all people and brings grave loss to families and communities," said Heather Rice-Minus, Senior VP of Advocacy & Church Mobilization for Prison Fellowship. "Policymakers on the Hill and in the states should act to pass criminal justice reforms that prioritize violence reduction, proportional punishment, and rehabilitation."
- In 2020, the rate of homicide crimes increased by 29 percent.
- During the same year, violent crime overall increased by an estimated six percent.
Overall Homicide and Violent Crime Rate Trend: This represents the largest single year increase in homicide crimes ever recorded. Despite this troubling increase, the homicide rate remains below the national peak recorded during the 1980s. Initial data shows that this is still more than 30 percent lower than the volume of homicide crimes recorded in the early 1990s.
Overall Crime Rate in 2020: Overall, the crime rate was five percent lower than reports from the previous year.
Overall Crime Rate Trend:
- When taken overall, 2020 continues an 18-year decline in the national crime rate.
- Research suggests that only 25 percent of the overall decrease in property crime, can be attributed to increased incarceration.
- Other factors besides incarceration, including a growing economy, changes in the drug market, the aging population, strategic policing, and community responses to crime have been found to be significant contributing factors to the decline in crime.