In recent weeks, as mass shootings across the United States dominated headlines, many Americans have observed that the country seems to be returning to something like a pre-pandemic state — shootings included.
But for all the ways in which gun violence is a distinctly American problem, the idea that killings are ramping up as people move back toward their usual routines isn’t necessarily unique.
Although the number of homicides sharply decreased in numerous countries during the early months of the coronavirus shutdown, “any significant changes were short-lived and pre-pandemic dynamics soon returned,” a recent research brief from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime concluded.
Analyzing monthly crime data from 21 countries, researchers found that the majority did experience a significant drop in the number of homicide victims during March and April of 2020. By the summer, however, the number of victims was back to usual. That trend proved true in some European countries, including Italy and Spain, where homicides are more frequently linked to domestic violence, and in Latin American nations, including Colombia and Guatemala, where the rates are higher and often linked to organized crime.