Though we are only just now entering the ninth month of 2015, Milwaukee has already surpassed last year's murder rate by a startling amount. 104 people have been killed in the city this year, greatly exceeding the 59 lives lost during the same period in 2014 and easily eclipsing that year's total of 86 homicides. According to new data, Milwaukee's seemingly sudden increase in violence is part of a larger national trend represented in statistics compiled by the New York Times:

Law enforcement experts are unsure what exactly is causing the dramatic spike in homicides across many major U.S. cities, though they do believe "disparate factors are at play in different cities." Maddeningly, the New York Times reveals that "some officials" are claiming that the renewed scrutiny facing the increasingly detrimental problem of police brutality has "made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals." Thankfully, most experts vehemently disagree with this theory.

Though murder rates in New York and Chicago hit record lows in 2014, both rates have shown a notable increase in the first eight months of 2015. New York is currently experiencing an estimated increase of nine percent, with Chicago doubling that rapidity with a 20 percent increase. Garry McCarthy, the police superintendent in Chicago, believes that the widespread prevalence of guns is largely to blame. "Across the country, we’ve all found it’s not the individual who never committed a crime before suddenly killing somebody,” says McCarthy. “It’s the repeat offenders. It’s the same people over and over again.”

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