Mississippi city shatters homicide record in 2020, eclipses rates of most major U.S. cities

Published 8:44 am Saturday, January 2, 2021

Mississippi’s capital city celebrated the new year with a sobering statistic — 2020 was the deadliest year ever in Jackson.

Preliminary numbers show that Jackson residents witnessed 128 homicides in the city limits. The number eclipses the previous all-time record of 92 killings in 1995.

Violent crime was up in most major cities across the region last year. Officials from New Orleans, Memphis, Birmingham and other cities reported a surge in homicides compared to previous years.

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Using population numbers as a comparison, Jackson had a much higher homicide rate per capita than most major cities with much larger populations.

Most other major cities in the U.S. with populations several times larger than Jackson have far smaller homicide rates, by comparison, though.

An analysis conducted by WLBT news in Jackson reports that Jackson had a homicide rate of 76.69 per 100,000 people. That rate is higher than Memphis at 50.99 and New Orleans at 49.98. Chicago, which has made headlines in recent years because of its high numbers of killings, had a homicide rate of 27.77 in 2020. Jackson’s rate was nearly three times that of Chicago because its population significantly lower than Chicago — 164,000 in Jackson compared to 2.7 million in Chicago.

St. Louis had a higher rate in 2020 than Jackson on a list of major cities in the country.

WLBT reports that the largest percentage (33%) of 2020’s homicides involved victims in their 20s. One in 10 homicide victims were teenagers.

Preliminary data suggests the city also saw a substantial increase in female victims.