What To Know Today

Latest data shows that homicide is still above last year’s historic spike — but declining. Criminal statistician Jeff Asher updated his year-to-date dashboard tracking homicide rates in 87 cities with available data. Overall, murders are currently up 9.9 percent. A number of major cities seeing large increases over 2020 include Portland, Oregon, (+82 percent), Las Vegas (+63 percent), Indianapolis (+34 percent), Houston (+25 percent), and Los Angeles (+21 percent). But in general, the increase still seems to be slowing. Meanwhile, a few cities have seen welcome declines this year, including St. Louis (-32 percent), Boston (-30 percent), Kansas City, Missouri, (-25 percent), and Jacksonville, Florida, (-20 percent). The data is “suggestive of a much smaller increase nationally this year than last year,” Asher tweeted, “but a 5-10 percent increase on a 25-30 percent increase is not good.”

Utah police overwhelmingly shoot minority residents. The Salt Lake Tribune and PBS Frontline looked at 226 confrontations between 2010 and 2020 and found that minorities make up a third of the people shot at by police despite their making up just a quarter of the state’s population. White residents, who constitute 75 percent of the population, accounted for just over 64 percent of shootings. Black people face the greatest disparity in police shootings, constituting 7 percent of police shootings while making up just 1 percent of the state’s population. Moreover, 62 percent of white people shot by the police had guns or fake guns at the time, compared to 43 percent for minorities. “Every person should be extremely uncomfortable by the data,” said one local civil rights leader.

The pandemic’s heavy toll of gun violence against children. In 2020, more than 5,100 people under 18 were shot, 1,000 more than at any point since Gun Violence Archive started tracking the data in 2014. Children under 11 born the brunt, with those killed seeing a 50-percent increase over 2019. A USA TODAY analysis of GVA data also found that more than half of the nation’s 50 most populous cities saw double-digit percentage rises in the number of children shot in 2020, with Chicago, St. Louis, and Philadelphia experiencing some of the worst jumps. This year’s rates of shootings of people under 18 are on pace to be even worse. Related: New reporting determined that an accidental fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy in Chula Vista, California, in July was caused by a ghost gun

Federal agent arrested for illegal gun possession at U.S. Capitol won’t be charged. A 27-year-old U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was detained at a rally on Saturday in support of people arrested for the January 6th insurrection. There were just three other arrests at the sparsely attended event over the weekend. Citing law enforcement officials, the Associated Press reported that the border agent wasn’t at the rally in an official capacity. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington said it was not pursuing charges.

Two Houston police officers shot, one fatally. Veteran officer William “Bill” Jeffrey died from his wounds after being shot alongside his partner, Michael Vance, while serving a search warrant. Police killed the suspect in the encounter. Jeffrey was the 282nd officer to die in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. The leading cause of death has been COVID-19 (167 officers), with gunfire causing the second-most deaths at 42 people.

South Carolina’s capital bans open carry at protests and other city events. The City Council in Columbia unanimously passed the measure earlier in September, months after the state passed a law allowing open carry for those with permits but gave localities the ability to retain short-term bans for certain events.

Data Point

24 — the number of school shootings since the start of the school year in August. In the latest incident in Virginia Beach, two high school students were injured when an assailant opened fire in their school. Both students had non-life-threatening injuries and a juvenile suspect was detained. [Gun Violence Archive]