President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice will distribute $1.6 billion in grants to towns and cities to help reduce the dramatic rise in violent crime after at least 12 major U.S. cities broken annual homicide records in 2021. 

According to the Justice Department, the grant will be awarded to programs that are ‘designed for violent crime reduction’. The programs include task forces,  crime prevention and domestic violence programs, the courts, and treatment and correction programs.

Attorney General Merrick Galrland released a statement saying that “The Department of Justice is dedicated to supporting our state, and local partners, to combat crime across this country.” “This funding round will provide critical public safety resources to public safety personnel, victims service providers and non-profit organizations facing these grave challenges. 

Last year, for the first time in four years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased when compared with the previous year, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2020. 

With nearly 21500 murders (or 6.5 for every 100,000), the murder rate climbed by almost 30%. Graved assault, which is the most violent form of crime, rose 12 percent. 

Violent crime is defined in the US as any incident involving the use or threat of force. Most violent crimes include murder and non-negligent menslaughter as well as rape and assault sexually and robbery.

This coincides with the outbreak of coronavirus and nationwide protests following the assassination of George Floyd (a Minnesota-born black man) by a white officer. 

President Joe Biden's Department of Justice will distribute $1.6 billion in grants to towns and cities to help reduce the dramatic rise in violent crime - above, Attorney General Merrick Garland

The Department of Justice of President Joe Biden will award $1.6 billion to cities and towns to reduce violent crime’s dramatic increase – Attorney General Merrick Garland

Violent crime has been on the rise - last week a Democratic congresswoman was hijacked at gunpoint by five teens in Philadelphia

The rise in violent crime is alarming. Last week, a Democratic Congresswoman was taken hostage at gunpoint and taken by five Philadelphia teens.

In New York, video footage caught a man ripping the purse off an eldery woman with a cane and dragging her from an elevator

New York City video captured a man taking the purse from an elderly woman and pulling her out of an elevator.

In Chicago, murders are at a 25-year high, with 793 recorded by Christmas in a city with 2.7 million people

Chicago’s murder rate is at its highest level in 25 years, with 793 killings recorded during Christmas. This was in an area of nearly 2.7million people.

The pandemic saw gun sales rise and approximately a fifth of them were first-time gun buyers. 

According to The Trace (which tracks gun sales), gun sales increased by 64% in 2020 compared with previous years. The Floyd protests saw the highest gun sales during June. As many gun sales take place privately, background checks are not used by government agencies to track how many guns were sold. 

As many cities deal with the aftermath of the Floyd protests, the money comes from DOJ.

Some cities – like like San Francisco, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and New York City – saw proposals to cut police budgets in favor of cycling that money to community programs as ‘defund the police’ became a popular rallying cry in the wake of Floyd’s death.

According to CNN, the grant program of DOJ will provide $271.9 millions to police departments. It includes $187 million for 56 state law enforcement agencies as well as $84.9 million to over 900 municipalities and counties. 

Chicago received $2,407.095 while Seattle got $771.127. Philadelphia can get $1,499.662 and Baltimore can receive $1.364,052. New York City may be eligible for $4.095,916 while Los Angeles could receive $2,692,835.

Chicago murders have reached a 25 year high. 793 were recorded in Chicago by Christmas, a city of 2.7 million. New York City with a population greater than eight million had only 479 murders between mid-December and Chicago. Chicago also saw an increase in criminal sexual assault by 132%, robbery 74% and theft 51%.

New York City, according to crime statistics published by the NYPD, saw nearly all types of crimes, including shootings, murders and auto grand larceny, have almost doubled since pre-pandemic times. 

According to latest statistics, there were 1,470 shootings, 43 murders, and 9,595 auto grand theft cases in the past year.

At least dozen large mid-tier cities across the country have already broken their annual homicide records

A minimum of 12 large cities in the mid-tier have broken national homicide records.

At least dozen large mid-tier cities across the country have already broken their annual homicide records this year

A minimum of 12 large cities in the mid-tier have broken this year’s annual homicide record

At least twelve cities also saw their murder rates reach new heights in 2021. This is a sign of a nationwide trend.

These cities are: Portland, Ore., Indianapolis, Toledo, Ohio, St. Paul and Minn., Rochester, N.Y., Philadelphia, Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Ken., Baton Rouge, Albuquerque, Tucson, Ariz., and Austin, Texas. 

Austin saw 88 homicides as of December 1, breaking the record set by 59 murders back in 1984. 

In Indianapolis, there were 230 murders by December 1, breaking the record 215 that was set last year. 

Philadelphia (population 1.5 million) has experienced more homicides in this year’s United States than New York (352 and Los Angeles 352 respectively, as of Nov. 27). 

Philadelphia was also in the news after Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon was kidnapped at gunpoint last week by five Philadelphia teens.

Jen Psaki White House press secretary, spoke at a briefing last week and said that the administration had increased its law enforcement efforts including the deployment of more officers to the streets.

She stated that federal law enforcement has been intensified for some time. ‘While we’re giving communities historic levels of funding through the Rescue Plan to fight crime, make neighborhoods safer by supporting programs to interrupt violence, hiring additional law enforcement officers and providing them with the resources and tools they’ve asked for, we’re also helping communities through initiatives like the COPS program, which is putting 1,000 more cops on the beat.’ 

Experts told ABC News there are a number of reasons possibly connected to the jump in homicides, including strained law enforcement staffing, a pronounced decline in arrests and continuing hardships from the pandemic, but that there is no clear answer across the board. 

The rise in crime coincided with the protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder - above a June 2020 protest in Minneapolis

Protests following George Floyd’s assassination coincided with an increase in crime – more than a Minneapolis protest held in June 2020

Protesters gathered in front of the White House in May 2020 to protest Floyd's death

Floyd’s murder was protested by demonstrators who gathered at the White House on May 20, 2020.

Officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran in the force, claimed she accidentally shot Daunte Wright (right) when she reached for her gun; she was convicted in his death

Daunte Wright, 20, was pulled over for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror and expired license plate tags

Officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran in the force, claimed she accidentally shot Daunte Wright (right) when she reached for her gun; she was convicted in his death

Additional Justice Department money went to jurisdictions in Hennepin County, Minnesota – where four former police officers were charged in connection to Floyd’s murder and ex-cop Kim Potter was recently convicted for causing the death of Daunte Wright. Area received grants totaling $590 659.

Milwaukee County is located in Wisconsin right alongside Kenosha County. The DoJ can award it $922 735. A jury in Kenosha recently acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse, who was accused of killing and injuring two men during unrest following the shooting death of Jacob Blake Jr.

Largest state recipients are $19 447,453 for California’s Board of State and Community Corrections and $14,531 7,729 for the Office of Governor of Texas. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement received $10,886,155.

FBI crime data also shows that arrests in the United States have dropped 24% since 2020. This is compared to the 10 million or so made in 2019. This year’s arrests of 7.63 million is the fewest in 25 years.

The number of retired police officers also increased last year.

Police Executive Research Forum published a June workforce survey that showed that national police retirement rates rose by 45% compared to 2020 and 2021. 

Another 18% of officers also resigned, according to the survey. This coincided with Floyd’s protests and calls for defunding law enforcement agencies.