The collective homicide toll for America’s 50 biggest cities dipped slightly in 2017, a USA TODAY analysis of crime data found.
The FBI won’t publish its annual comprehensive crime report until later this year, but an early review of police department crime data shows that killings decreased by at least 1% in large jurisdictions compared with 2016.
There were 5,738 homicides in the nation’s 50 biggest cities in 2017 compared with 5,863 homicides in 2016, a roughly 2.3% reduction.
The national decrease in killings in 2017 was largely driven by double-digit percentage dips in some of the nation’s biggest cities, including Chicago (14.7%), New York City (13.4%) and Houston (11%). In fact, the New York Police Department reported that its annual murder tally fell below 300 for the first time and the city notched its lowest per capita murder rate in nearly 70 years.
Baltimore is the big city with the highest per capita murder rate in the nation, with nearly 56 murders per 100,000 people. At 343 murders in 2017, the city tallied the highest per capita rate in its history. Columbus tallied 143 murders — 37 more than 2016 and the most the city has seen in a single year.