Thompson: Where is crime rising today?
Sharkey: This is the analysis I’m doing right now. It’s always been true that violence is concentrated in a small number of communities. The current increase in crime is not evenly distributed, either. Most of the increase in violence is highly concentrated in neighborhoods that are segregated with high poverty. Many of these neighborhoods have experienced disinvestment for generations, for decades, and it has made them more vulnerable to violence. Their public spaces have not been maintained. Their schools are underfunded. Their parks are not maintained. There aren’t functioning community centers or after-school programs for children.
In research shared exclusively with The Atlantic after we spoke, Sharkey calculated that Chicago had 267 more fatal shootings in 2020 than the previous year. This was by far the largest numerical increase in the country and more than double that in any other city. New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta saw fatal shootings increase in 2020 by more than 30 percent. But in several other major cities—including Miami; Las Vegas; San Jose, California; and Honolulu—fatal shootings declined, according to his data.