ShotSpotter, Inc. a provider of policing solutions, reported a rise of 48% in gunshot incidents during 2020 compared with 2019, according to the company’s data that tracks gunfire in more than 100 U.S. cities that use its technology. The increase comes during a year that included a global pandemic, calls for social justice and heightened political divisions.

ShotSpotter gunfire statistics for 2020 showed a spike in gunshot incidents as compared to the prior year in the weeks following George Floyd’s death (May 25). That trend continued during the next four weeks of nationwide protests and, while dropping the last week of June, gunfire levels remained at a significantly higher rate throughout the remainder of the year as compared to the prior year. The 2020 ShotSpotter National Gunfire Trends report showing gunfire incidents per square mile per week, 2020 vs. 2019, is found here.

When broken down by region, the data reveals a 58% increase in gunfire in the Midwest – the region with the highest increase. In other regions, the South had the smallest increase in gunshot events with a 19% increase year over year, while the Northeast and West experienced similar surges of 40 and 42% respectively as compared to the prior year. In line with the ShotSpotter data of increased 2020 gunfire rates, independent research group Gun Violence Archive reported a record number of homicides by gun violence this year with more than 19,000 U.S. deaths. 

New Year’s Eve – typically an active night due to celebratory gunfire – saw an upswing this year with the ShotSpotter Incident Review Center (IRC) logging 12,266 gunshot alerts in 24 hours. In comparison, over the past three years the New Year’s Eve numbers averaged 6,803 ShotSpotter alerts in the same timeframe. The 2021 rate is nearly double the three-year average of 6,803 gunshots and up 36% from 2020 when the rate was 9,034.