NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville joined several cities across the United States with increased homicide rates in 2020.

The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice analyzed the increase in homicides by looking at 34 cities, including a 32% increase in Nashville.

Dr. Richard Rosenfeld from the University of Missouri-St. Louis said one fact that stood out was that in most of the cities, the increase in homicides began pretty abruptly at the very end of May and at the first week or so of June. It was right when George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis prompted protests across the country.

“As the protests emerged, police officers were taken off their normal patrol out in the neighborhoods and redirected to address protest activity that typically occurred in the middle of the city, often downtown,” Dr. Rosenfeld said. “If police officers are removed from communities, that can spur an uptick in violent crime.”

He also said that when COVID-19 restrictions hit, it led to a reduced amount of what they call “proactive police activity.”

“During the summer, police departments, like other aspects of our society, were hit hard by the COVID pandemic. So officers were out on quarantine, leaving police short-staffed,” Dr. Rosenfeld explained. “Those officers that remained on the job and out on the streets, they were either subject to social distancing requirements by their agencies, or their own discretion to maintain distance between themselves and people in the community.”

The study found rates of aggravated assaults and those with guns increased as well. CLICK HERE to read the full report.