Murder rates in rural America "have soared during the pandemic," report Dan Frosch, Kris Maher and Zusha Elinson of The Wall Street Journal. Rebecca McCoy, prosecutor in White County, Arkansas, told the newspaper, “It was like people lost their ever-lovin’ minds.” The county hadn't had a homicide in two years when the pandemic began; in 10 weeks, it had six; by the end of 2020, it had 11.

Homicide rates in non-metropolitan counties rose 25 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It was the largest rural increase since the agency began tracking such data in 1999," the Journal reports. "The rise came close to the 30% spike in homicide rates in metropolitan areas in 2020. The CDC hasn’t analyzed 2021 homicide data yet. In some rural counties, murder rates remained high last year, while in others they have begun to recede along with Covid, data from local law-enforcement agencies shows." But the courts remain burdened: "Small-town prosecutors, unaccustomed to handling numerous homicides cases, find themselves overwhelmed with them."

Read the full article about murder in rural areas by Al Cross at The Rural Blog.