After a year of increased violence and higher homicide rates in many U.S. cities, experts are now warning of a potentially violent summer to come.

In the first three months of 2021 alone, the number of homicides across 34 cities increased 24% compared with the first quarter of 2020 and by 49% compared with the first quarter of 2019, according to a new report the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice released Friday.

As local leaders continue to attempt to pinpoint why the spike in violence has occurred, mayors from Baltimore to Oakland, California, gathered at a virtual U.S. Conference of Mayors event this week to discuss how they are reimagining public safety, gun violence and policing amid the grim landscape of a deadly and violent year.

"The tragic murder of George Floyd and the tragic death of Breonna Taylor really provided a gut check for this nation, and it forced mayors into reimagining public safety and policing," Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said. "But the reality is that the moment we're defining what policing looks like is the most consequential decision any local government can make."

Read the full article about reimagining public safety by Cailin Crowe at Smart Cities Dive.