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Record High Gun Deaths in 2020 Outlined in Johns Hopkins Report

The Bloomberg School for Public Health at Johns Hopkins has released a report analyzing CDC data finding that people died from firearms at the highest rate ever recorded in 2020. Nationwide, approximately 124 people were murdered or died by suicide using a firearm every day; this represents a 35% increase in homicides over the prior year.


These increased effects tended to fall along expected demographic lines, with Black males under 25 the most disproportionately frequent victims of gun violence (representing 2% of the US population but 38% of all gun homicides). Gun violence is the leading cause of death for people under age 25, and accounted for a shocking 52% of deaths for Black men aged 15-19. Even during the height of the COVID pandemic, people under 30 were almost ten times more likely to die from gun violence than the disease.


This year also showed an astounding 49% increase in the deaths of Black women to gun violence, indicating that some of the long-held demographic truths about gun violence victims may be changing. At the Nonviolence Institute we make sure to keep a close eye on these trends to ensure we are performing the most effective outreach that we can.


These trends held true in Rhode Island as well, according to available data from the Providence Police Department and the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Statewide we experienced a 23% increase in homicides between 2019 and 2020, and in Providence that figure was slightly higher at 29%. Although the FBI has not put out crime data for 2021 yet, preliminary data from Providence indicate that homicides continued to increase, with a 28% increase between 2020 and 2021.


Although this is a stunning and distressing report, there is cause for some optimism. The homicide rate in Providence is down 43% so far this year and firearm assaults, which have been steadily increasing along with homicides, are also down slightly. We will continue to do the vital work in our streets to reverse this trend and arrest the momentum of firearm homicide.