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Crime and Punishment

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jan 22, 2008 7:08PM

CPD photo by Jeff Cagle

The number of homicides in Chicago is decreasing, but there's another number that's dropping, too: Fewer murders are being solved. Of Chicago's 443 murders last year, only 162 were solved. The police also solved 102 cases from previous years. This year's clearance rate of 36.6 percent is about the same as last year, but 42 percent of 2005 and 47 percent of 2004 murders were cleared.

The 2007 annual crime report should be coming out later this week, according to the guy we talked to at the CPD's news affairs desk, but the 2006 report has plenty of interesting, still-relevant data to tide us over. In 2006, 88 percent of murder victims were male; 74.5 percent were black, 19.3 percent were Hispanic, 6 percent were Caucasian and .2 percent were Asian. Of that year's 467 murders, 181 were cleared; of the 1,537 criminal sexual assaults, 594 were cleared; of the 15,868 robberies, 3,384 were cleared. The mean age for murder victims was 29 years old and the mean age for murderers was 25.9--but does that mean that murderers tend to be in their mid-20s, or that older murderers just get away with it?

In other crime news, two men were arrested last night for breaking into the Gold Coast Animal Hospital. The two men apparently broke in to the facility and let a bunch of dogs out of their cages. The hell?

And finally, Aurora police are looking for a crafty criminal who taped "out of order" signs on night-deposit boxes at a Chase bank, and then set up a fake deposit box underneath. "The fake deposit box was not anchored or attached to anything.... This caused one of the bank's customers to become suspicious and call the police." Other folks were more trusting: The box contained cash and checks. D'oh.