Crime in Chicago
|Crime rates (2014)|
|Total Violent crime:||884.3|
|Motor vehicle theft:||367.9|
|Total Property crime:||3126.2|
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
** Revised definition
|Source: FBI 2014 UCR data|
Crime in Chicago has been tracked by the Chicago Police Department's Bureau of Records since the beginning of the 20th century.
Chicago saw a major rise in violent crime starting in the late 1960s. Murders in the city first peaked in 1974, with 970 murders when the city's population was over three million, resulting in a murder rate of around 29 per 100,000, and again in 1992, with 943 murders when the city had fewer than three million people, resulting in a murder rate of 34 murders per 100,000 citizens.
After 1992, the murder count decreased to 641 murders. The population was at 2,799,000 in 1999, so the decrease was slow, but still an improvement. In 2002, Chicago had fewer murders but a significantly higher murder rate than New York or Los Angeles.
Chicago experiences violent crime. It experienced a major rise in starting in the late 1960s, a decline in overall crime in the 1990s, and then a rebound in overall murders the mid-2010s. Murder, rape, and robbery are common violent crimes in the city, and the occurrences of such incidents are documented by the Chicago Police Department and indexed in annual crime reports.
After adopting crime-fighting techniques in 2004 that were recommended by the Los Angeles Police Department and the New York City Police Department, Chicago recorded 448 homicides, the lowest total since 1965. This murder rate of 15.65 per 100,000 population is still above the U.S. average, an average which takes in many small towns and suburbs.
This homicide rate is similar to that of Los Angeles in 2004 (13.4 per 100,000), and twice that of New York City (7.0 per 100,000). Chicago's homicide tally increased slightly in 2005 and 2006 to 450 and 467, respectively, though the overall crime rate in 2006 continued the downward trend that has taken place since the early 1990s, with 2.5% fewer violent crimes and 2.4% fewer property crimes compared to 2005.
However, David Bernstein and Noah Isackson, of Chicago magazine, have challenged Chicago's homicide statistics, arguing that cases have been deliberately misclassified to lower the rate, particularly in 2013.
According to the 2005 Homicide Report released by the Chicago Police Department, the murder clearance rate (in terms of an arrest being made within two years of the homicide) has dropped from over 70% for 1991 to under 60% for 2003. Summer months have significantly higher murder rates, and over 70% of murders take place between 7PM and 5AM. The percentage of murder offenders between 14 and 16 years of age has declined from a 1994 high of approximately 15% to approximately 6% in 2005.
In 2005, 75% of murders involved a firearm, and 11% were the result of a stabbing. 41% Of domestic murders were stabbings. 10% Of murders in 2005 were the result of an armed robbery, 9% were of undetermined cause, and at least 30% were gang altercations. Over 40% of victims and 60% of offenders were between the ages of 17 and 25. 85% of victims and 93% of offenders were male. 76% Of victims 77.4% of offenders were African American, 18.3% were Hispanic (17.3% of offenders), and 5.6% were white (5.3% of offenders).
The black murder victimization rate was approximately 34 per 100,000; the Hispanic rate was 11 per 100,000, and the white rate 3 per 100,000. Over 75% of victims and 88% of offenders had a prior arrest history. 11% Of armed robbery victims were female, 50% of domestic victims were female, and 7% of gang-related victims were female. 31% Of armed robbery victims were over 45 years old. 29% Of domestic-related murders were committed by women. From 1991 to 2005, 19.2% of armed robbery murder victims were white, and only 4.3% of armed robbery murder offenders were white.
(2005) Victims of gang-related murders: 70% Black, 26% Hispanic, 3% White; 93% male. Offenders in gang-related murders: 76% African American, 20% Hispanic, 3% white; 99% male. Victims of domestic-related murders: 79% African American, 10% Hispanic, 11% white. Victims of armed robbery—related murders: 68% African American, 13% Hispanic, 19% white, 89% male. Offenders in armed robbery—related murders: 87% African American, 9% Hispanic, 4% white; 93% male.
Murder rates in Chicago vary greatly depending on the neighborhood in question. Many neighborhoods on the South Side tend to be poorer, less educated, predominantly African American, and infested with street gangs. The neighborhoods of Austin on the west side and Englewood on the near South Side, for example, have homicide rates that are 10 times higher than other parts of the city. Violence in these neighborhoods has had a detrimental impact on the academic performance of children in schools, as well as a higher financial burden for school districts in need of counselors, social workers, and psychiatrists to help children cope with the violence.
|This section may require copy editing. (January 2015)|
Despite this, crime rate in Chicago has been the subject of substantial hyperbole. In the summer of 2012, many major media outlets compared the homicide rate in Chicago to that of the Holocaust and Afghanistan. One year, Chicago's murder rate was higher than Iraq's, which gave Chicago the nickname "Chiraq". However, recent Chicago homicide rates are nowhere near those seen in the '70s, '80s and '90s. In fact, the past decade has logged some of the lowest annual rates since 1965. Gun violence is the leading factor of Chicago deaths, and the media portrays Chicago as one of the most, if not the most dangerous city in the United States of America, regardless of that information's accuracy.
Despite Chicago's strict gun laws, many arms were trafficked in from surrounding municipalities or stolen from shipments. The New York Times constructed an info-graphic displaying this phenomenon.
CBS explains in greater depth that Chicago violence has indeed decreased, no matter what the media projects the crime rates to be
Homicides in Chicago in certain years
Chicago was among one of the first U.S. cities to build an integrated emergency response center to coordinate the city's response to natural disasters, gang violence, and terrorist attacks. Built in 1995, the center is integrated with more than 2000 cameras, communications with all levels of city government, and a direct link to the National Counterterrorism Center. Police credited surveillance cameras with contributing to decreased crime in 2004.
Recently installed anti-crime cameras are capable of pinpointing gunshot sounds, calculating where the shots were fired, and pointing and zooming the cameras in the direction of the shots within a two-block radius. Since surveillance cameras have been placed in high-crime areas, some Chicagoans feel uneasy about being so closely watched, but others believe their streets are safer.[who?]
Because the Chicago Police Department tallies data differently than police in other cities, the FBI often does not accept their crime statistics. Chicago police officers record all criminal sexual assaults, as opposed to only rape. They count aggravated battery together with the standard category of aggravated assault. As a result, Chicago is often omitted from studies such as Morgan Quitno's annual "Safest/Most Dangerous City" survey, which relies on FBI-collected data.
The Chicago Police Department developed a tool to assist city residents in problem-solving and combating crime and disorder in their neighborhoods. It is based upon the CLEAR (Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting) system developed by the Department for use by its police officers. This web application enables citizens to search the Chicago Police Department's database of reported crime. Individuals will be able to see maps, graphs, and tables of reported crime. The database contains 90 days of information, which can be accessed in blocks of up to 14 days. Data is refreshed daily. However, the most recent information is always 6 days old.
- 2004 Chicago Police Department Annual Report Retrieved Aug. 9, 2012
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- Chicago Police Department
- CPD crime map generator
- Chicago homicide map generator
- Online Crime Map of Chicago- SpotCrime.com