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Coronavirus pandemic blamed for rise in violent crimes across the U.S.

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NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — The latest statistics show violent crime is on the rise across the country, with murders up dramatically in America’s three largest cities.

New York saw a glaring example of that trend over the weekend— another random attack on the subway, as a man tried to push a fellow stranger into the path of a train. 

Surveillance video released by the New York Police Department shows a third commuter trying to stop the attack, but the assailant shoved the Good Samaritan aside before fleeing. Police said Monday he was still at large and that the victim managed to crawl back up onto the platform with only minor injuries. It’s the third such attack in a week. 

Video from Nov. 19 shows a man pacing the platform before rushing toward a 40-year-old woman and violently pushing her onto the tracks just as a northbound number 5 train pulls into the station.

“It’s very disturbing,” said Chief Kathleen O’Reilly, NYPD Transit. “We see him waiting, calculating for the train to approach the station.”

The train can be seen passing directly over the woman as other passengers scream and one covers his eyes. She escaped with minor injuries. Her alleged assailant was taken into custody at the scene. 

The random subway attacks are up 45% over 2019 and a reflection of crime numbers across the nation.

Los Angeles just topped 300 homicides on the year-to-date for the first time in a decade. Murders in New York are up 40% for the first 9 months of 2020 and 50% for the same span in Chicago, where crime is otherwise down.

Experts tell NewsNation the pandemic is a big part of the problem; people are out of work, stressed emotionally and financially.

Police in Houston say there’s no doubt it’s a factor in their city, where murders are up 44% and frustration on the force is said to be at an all-time high after the death of a veteran officer last month.

Sgt. Harold Preston was responding to a domestic call when he was killed, 2 weeks shy of retirement. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo believes it’s time to take a hard look at the justice system and the way it treats repeat offenders.

“Our cops are doing their job,” Chief Acevedo said at a press conference Friday. “We’re going after the same violent criminals time and again because they’re going in one door and out the other. That’s a problem.”

It’s a problem officials in New York and Los Angeles believe is being made worse by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. New York’s mayor has pointed directly to school and business closings and the resulting turmoil for the rising crime rate. Shootings in the nation’s largest city have nearly doubled over 2019.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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