There is frightening news coming out of America’s third largest city today. According to official statistics from authorities in the area, Chicago’s murder rate is up 72%. That’s a phenomenal jump for just a short time period. The same report also concluded that shootings and gun crime have soared by 88%. Chicago has long been plagued by high crime statistics and gang-activity. However, this is a new low for the Illinois state officials. Compared to other major cities in the country, Chicago remains a hotbed of gun crime.
The statistics make for chilling reading. However, it’s important to understand the level of crime the city is currently dealing with. According to the report, Chicago suffered 141 murders this year, up from 82 at the same time in 2015. Meanwhile, 677 shootings were reported by police since the start of the year, up from 359. The figures are rising astronomically and show no sign of slowing down. Between 2014 and 2015, the murder rate rose 13%. This year that figure is now exacerbated yet further. The important question is what’s going on here?
Well, according to police authorities in the area, the rise in violence is attributed to gangs. The murders are almost all linked to the various competing gangs in the city’s more deprived areas. Police are trying to calm citizens by pointing out the relative contained nature of the attacks. Almost all instances of gun violence took place in small pockets in the south west of the city. However, that information will do little to comfort those dwelling in the south west.
It’s impossible to look at these statistics without considering the context of America’s growing violence problem. Chicago is just one example of a growing restlessness in the US population. Violent crime has reached an all time high across the entire country. It’s a problem attributed to the growing divide among its citizens. Racial tensions in various communities are becoming more prominent and delineated. High profile shootings such as the incident in Ferguson are a constant reminder of general mistrust.
The country is becoming increasingly destabilized and fractured along racial lines. Gangs are becoming more clearly separated and tensions are frayed. It’s a problem that is symptomatic of modern America, yet it takes frightening statistics like this to highlight it. Chicago is not alone in this particular issue. In cities like Detroit, LA, and New York, we are seeing similar rises in gun crime. The stack of cases for any criminal lawyer are piling higher each day.
There is another interesting correlation to be found in this latest report that is unique to Chicago. Illinois police have recently reduced the number of stop-and-search procedures. Investigative searches were reduced in order to lower the paperwork burden on its officers. However, this particular strategy appears to have backfired. Concealed weapons are going unnoticed and the result is a higher crime figure. These latest figures will cause Illinois authorities to rethink their approach to street crime and perhaps retract their approach.
We’ll bring you more information on Chicago’s crime statistics – and the country as a whole – when we have it.