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Report: Chicago Violent Crime Is Driving Up The National Average

By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 20, 2016 9:47PM

Crime scene tape (Photo by LukaTDB via Shutterstock)

Chicago is on pace to surpass 750 homicides this year. That staggering figure—along with the frequency of non-fatal shootings—is so large that it’s skewing the entire national average of violent crime upward, according to a new report.

The overall violent crime rate among America’s 30 largest cities in 2016 grew slightly, by 3.3 percent, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, at New York University School of Law. But that uptick was primarily driven by cities like Charlotte and, especially, Chicago. The overall murder, however, is projected to rise by 14 percent, of which alone Chicago accounts for a shocking 43.7 percent.

Reasons cited for the rise in a preliminary version include “falling police numbers, poverty and other forms of socioeconomic disadvantage, and gang violence.”

“No other large city is expected to see a comparable increase in violence,” wrote the authors.

While Chicago’s violent crime rate has indeed shot up (Chicago may well witness nearly 300 more murders this year compared to 2015), the city trails New Orleans, Detroit, St. Louis and several other cities in terms of per-capita homicide rate, according to some analyses.

Broadly speaking, findings in Tuesday’s report shouldn’t be cause for panic, the researchers argue. “Concerns about a national crime wave are still premature, but these trends suggest a need to understand how and why murder is increasing in some cities,” the authors wrote. The nationwide violent crime average remains far below highs witnessed in the early '90s, the report concludes.