The bureau said on Wednesday its data suggested the number of murders reported in the US rose by 4.3% since 2020.
"Violent crime, and specifically gun crime, continues to be a huge challenge for our nation," former Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters on a call organized by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
The agency said that the increase followed a nearly 30% surge in the murder rate in 2020, which marked the largest single-year rise since the FBI began keeping count in the 1960s.
According to the new report, the number of murders increased from 22,000 in 2020 to 22,900 in 2021.
Officials, however, warned that the FBI statistics were incomplete and excluded some major cities, like New York and Los Angeles, due to a new data tracking system.
"Violent crime has surged in this country under the Biden administration," Republican US Representative Michael Burgess of Texas said in a statement, noting the new data is "very concerning."
The new data also suggested that 58% of the homicide victims were Black, 37% were white and 14% were Latino.
The FBI said that overall violent crime, however, decreased by 1%, with the robbery rate declining by 8.9% and the property crime rate dropping by 4.5%.
While FBI officials expressed confidence in the general accuracy of their estimates, experts said the data does not paint a full picture of homicide trends in the US.
Though the new report suggests the huge spike in murders during the pandemic has now flatlined, the murder rate is still much higher than before the pandemic.
Experts warned that the margin of error in the new estimates is larger than the suggested increases and decreases, making it difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions from the report.
“We have so little precision and confidence in the data ... The margins of error are so big,” said Jeff Asher, a - data analyst who co-founded AH Datalytics, a company that uses homicide data from 22 major US cities to estimate crime trends.
“It’s one thing to estimate in calm waters and another to do it in 2021 after we have had a surge in gun violence,” Asher said.
This data comes on the same day a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that more than three-quarters of voters said violent crime is a major problem in the US, ahead of November midterm elections.
People living and working in communities with high levels of violence say last year felt little different from the year before, with many of them describing living through a second year of anxiety and trauma due to increased homicides.