FBI DATA: Homicide rates increase nationally, decline in Northeastern, Central Pennsylvania


EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The FBI announced Monday, the largest one-year jump in homicide rates since records have been kept. Nationally, rates increased by nearly 30 percent in 2020, since 2019.

According to the FBI data, non-negligent manslaughters climbed an estimated 29.4% to 21,570, an increase of 4,901 from 2019’s data.

The rate of homicide is historically higher in Pennsylvania than the country as a whole, and took a high spike from 2019 to 2020, according to FBI data. In 2019, 5.3 per 100,000 people died by homicide. Meanwhile in 2020, it rose sharply to 7.9.

Courtesy: FBI

But reported homicide trends locally, in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania have declined from 2019 to 2020 according to the data.

The data shows the homicide rate in Wilkes-Barre has been on the decline since 2018, when there were four reported homicides. In 2020, one homicide was reported. The largest spike in the last 10 years was in 2013 when there were 12 reported homicides in the Diamond City.

Courtesy: FBI

In Hazleton, a slightly different trend. According to FBI data, reported homicides from 2019 to 2020 remained the same; each year with a single reported homicide. The city saw its peak in the last decade in 2011 with four reported homicides. On the other hand, there wasn’t a single reported homicide in 2018.

The rate of reported homicides in Scranton declined over the last few years. FBI data shows the city police department reported two homicides in 2018, but reported none in 2019 and 2020. The Electric City reported its highest number of homicides in the last 10 years in 2014 with four, according to the data.

Courtesy: FBI

In the Poconos, reported homicides are also on the decline. According to the FBI, in 2019, the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department reported two homicides, reporting one in 2020. The department saw its peak of reported homicides in the last 10 years in 2013 and 2017 with four.

Courtesy: FBI

Out in the Susquehanna Valley, FBI data wasn’t available from the Williamsport Police Department for 2020, but showed an increase from 2018 to 2019 in reported homicides. In 2018, the department reported one homicide with three reported in 2019.

In the Southern Tier, reported homicides in Pottsville trended upwards, but slightly. FBI data shows from 2019 to 2020 the city reported one homicide. From 2016 through 2018, the city did not have any homicides reported. They reported their most homicides in the decade in 2015 with two.

While the numbers may be on a bit of a decline, the families of homicide victims remember and attempt to heal. Organizations throughout our area show support for grieving families. Of such organizations, Angel Families Unite in Williamsport has worked with more than 100 families affected by homicide.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on specific criteria from certain metro areas and provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This article does not include county-wide reports from these regions. There are varying sets of circumstances that would cause a death not to be reported as a homicide.

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