Tag Archives: Statistics

Chicago, the New Murder Capital of the United States

Newt Gingrich - Photo: Gage Skidmore
Newt Gingrich – Photo: Gage Skidmore
Newt Gingrich presented a probing newsletter to members of House members questioning the effectiveness of Chicago’s anti-gun tactics and Chicago’s undeserved title of Murder Capital of the United States. A title earned with over 500 gun homicides last year — about 1 for every 5,300 people.

Gingrich asked, Why doesn’t Vice President Biden take his gun commission to Chicago, the murder capital of the United States and a place with some of the strictest gun laws in the country? By way of comparison, New York City had just 237 gun homicides with more than three times the population — only about three gun homicides per 100,000 people.

Chicago had more than 500 gun homicides in 2012, roughly 19 per 100,000 people. This puts the city of Chicago at more than 6 times the national gun homicide rate.

RT News recently reported that Chicago’s murder rate has far outpaced even other notoriously dangerous cities and will most likely be 2013’s US murder capital with 18 murders so far this year. New York City has only seen seven murders through Jan. 7, even though its population is three times as large as Chicago while Detroit, MI, which is experiencing a 20-year murder rate high, was host to six homicides through Sunday.

Yet in Chicago, it is effectively illegal to possess a handgun outside the confines of your own home. (Even taking the gun outdoors on your own property can be illegal.) Long guns face similar prohibitions outside the home or place of business. And if you have more than one gun in your household, only one at a time may be maintained in “operable” condition.

All gun owners must register themselves with Chicago police, allow themselves to be fingerprinted and take a training course on gun use, supervised by police officers, in addition to paying a $100 fee. They must also register each gun individually, at a cost of $15 per firearm.
In addition, a whole assortment of rifles and shotguns are banned completely, including many of the so-called “assault” weapons.

These prohibitions are not new to the city. In fact, for most of the last 30 years, Chicago had even stricter laws than they do today. In 2010, the Supreme Court struck down a ban on all handguns that had been on the books since 1982. The city continues to attempt to restrict guns as much as it can get away with without conflicting with the Court’s decision.

Many media elites, who are wealthy enough that they rarely need to worry about their own personal safety, are saying constantly these days that the U.S.’s gun homicide rate — higher than some cherry picked countries with gun bans — is proof that we, too, need to disarm our population.

But in Chicago, officials have gone as far as they can toward an outright ban and the city has one of the highest gun homicide rates in the developed world.

If the absence of strong gun laws account for gun violence, then how do they explain such significant outliers as Chicago? How many of these advocates for prohibition would feel the same way if they had to live in a place with the kind of lawlessness that is occurring in Chicago, with a murder rate many times the national average?

The Vice President’s commission on gun control ought to start there in the murder capital of America… and the House Republicans should immediately begin hearings on how the gun control laws now being proposed have worked out for the people of the Windy City.

The answer, as last year’s historic gun homicide rate suggests, is not very well.

Chicago Police Release Preliminary November Crime Statistics Total Crime Down for 23rd Consecutive Month, Along with Violent, Property Offenses

CHICAGO – Today Superintendent Jody P. Weis discussed preliminary crime statistics for the month of November during a press conference at Chicago Police Headquarters. Total crime was down Citywide by 3.8 percent, supported by a nearly 10 percent decline in overall violent crime and more than 2 percent dip in property offenses. The crime drops through the end of November marked the 23rd consecutive month of lower overall crime in the City.

Twelve fewer murders through the end of November realized a 2.8 percent drop that maintained a pace for closing the year with fewer incidents than were reported in years with historically low murder totals, including 2007 – the lowest in the City since 1965. The number of murders committed with a firearm dropped by 4.6 percent compared to last year during the same time. Through the end of November, Chicago Police seized more than 7,400 guns off of the street.

Two newsworthy incidents in November demonstrated the dedicated efforts of Chicago Police officers to recover firearms and pursue violent criminals. On November 6th, after hearing shots fired in the Logan Square community, a Grand Central (Area Five) Detective and Shakespeare (14th) District Officers worked together to apprehend the 36-year-old convicted felon who was responsible for the incident. In an unrelated event, Austin (15th) District officers arrested a 37-year-old armed robber and police impersonator who victimized two employees in a business on the City’s West Side on November 24th. Firearms were recovered in both of these incidents.

“Every day Chicago Police officers face incredible risks to defeat the opportunity for even one person to be a victim of a crime in the City,” said Superintendent Jody P. Weis. “We are pleased with fewer incidents of crime that have been reported throughout the year, yet realize there is more work to be done, and that we must have the community as a partner to have a greater effect” he added.

Add One/
November 2010 Preliminary Crime Statistics

Superintendent Weis also praised the courageous community members who stepped forward in the Officer Flisk homicide investigation. “I have said it many times, and some brave community members recently reaffirmed it–an allegiance between the community and law enforcement is more powerful than any criminal entity out there,” Superintendent Jody P. Weis stated. “I see a crack in the code of silence…now let’s shatter it,” he added.

Violent index crimes were down across the board in all categories, including drops in aggravated assaults at nearly 12 percent, robberies at 11 percent, and aggravated batteries at just over 7 percent. Incidents of criminal sexual assaults declined by 8.5 percent through the end of November, with Chicago Police making notable arrests during the month highlighting aggressive investigation of these crimes.

On November 9th, Harrison (Area Four) Detectives charged a 44-year-old man with various criminal sexual assault charges after DNA evidence led investigators to the identity of the offender responsible for assaulting two teenage girls. Two days later, Near North (18th) District officers apprehended a 26-year-old man who had attempted to sexually assault a student in a dorm room almost two months earlier. An investigative alert obtained by Belmont (Area Three) Detectives allowed police to process the offender for an attempt criminal sexual assault charge, among other offenses.

Property crimes also showed downward trends through the end of November, with slightly more than a 2 percent drop in index offenses overall compared to last year during the same time. Motor vehicle theft incidents increased by 22.6 percent, and every other property offense decreased, including drops in arson at 12.7 percent, theft at 6.8 percent, and burglary at 2 percent.

Violent Index Crime is down 9.8 percent
Homicide – down 2.8 percent
Criminal Sexual Assault – down 8.5 percent
Robbery – down 11 percent
Aggravated Assault – down 11.9 percent
Aggravated Battery – down 7.1 percent

Property Index Crime is down 2.2 percent
Burglary – down 2 percent
Theft – down 6.8 percent
Motor Vehicle Theft – up 22.6 percent
Arson – down 12.7 percent


Chicago Police Maintain Overall Crime Drop in August – (Except for Murders)

Chicago Police Maintain Overall Crime Drop in August; Violent Crimes Down in 23 of City’s 25 Police Districts

Assistant Superintendent James B. Jackson discussed preliminary crime statistics for the month of August in a press conference today, announcing that total crime dropped by 4.5 percent Citywide, supported by an 11 percent decrease in violent crimes and more than 2 percent decline in property offenses. Nearly every category of index offenses tapered in the City’s 20th consecutive month of overall crime drops.

Murder was the only violent crime to show an uptick in August, which followed a drop in July that ended a four-month consecutive increase. A total of 313 murder victims raised the total by five victims compared to last year, resulting in a 1.6 percent increase. Assistant Superintendent Jackson pledged the committed efforts of Chicago Police to continuing strategic policing and the building of cooperative relationships with community members to reverse the marginal increase.

“Any number of homicides is going to be dissatisfying until we see the number at zero,” said Assistant Superintendent Jackson. “No singular approach can drive down crime, and so while we are pleased with successful strategies which have helped crime drop overall across the City, Chicago Police must have the community as partners in this plan,” he added.

Every other violent index offense dropped through the end of August, including criminal sexual assaults by more than 10 percent, robberies by more than 14 percent, and aggravated assaults by nearly 13 percent. Aggravated batteries dropped more than 6 percent. Jackson praised efforts of the Bureau of Patrol and Bureau of Investigative Services, whose strategic missions especially targeted public violence in August.

This included a series of Organized Crime Division missions and a separate, joint law enforcement agency initiative with Chicago Police officers from units in the Bureaus of Patrol and Investigative Services. Combined results yielded more than 170 arrests and $1.7 million in narcotics. Thirty weapons also were seized, contributing to the 5,679 weapons Chicago Police recovered through the end of August – more than 189 more than were seized last year during that time.

Property index offenses dropped in almost every category, with the exception of motor vehicle theft, which was up by about 21 percent. Arson showed the greatest drop at 14.5 percent, followed by theft at more than 7 percent, and burglary at 2 percent.

According to preliminary statistics through the end of August 2010:

Violent Index Crime is down 11 percent
Homicide – up 1.6 percent
Criminal Sexual Assault – down 10.1 percent
Robbery – down 14.1 percent
Aggravated Assault – down 12.9 percent
Aggravated Battery – down 6.1 percent

Property Index Crime is down 2.6 percent
Burglary – down 2 percent
Theft – down 7.1 percent
Motor Vehicle Theft – up 21.2 percent
Arson – down 14.5 percent

Superintendent Weis Testifies at Forum on Closing National Gun Show Loophole

Today Chicago Police Superintendent Jody P. Weis testified at the Forum on Closing the Gun Show Loophole, hosted by US Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL), to express the City of Chicago’s strong support closing the gun show loophole on a national level.
“It is imperative that we close the gun show loophole by enacting a federal ban on the ability of criminals to purchase guns at gun shows,” said Superintendent Weis in testimony delivered at the Dirksen Federal Building. “As a nation, we already require criminal background checks for people who purchase firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer. Simply stated, there is no good reason that someone who wants to purchase firearms at a gun show should not undergo the same important criminal background check as someone who makes the same purchase from a dealer.” This loophole currently allows unlicensed individuals to sell firearms at gun shows without conducting criminal background checks on buyers or without any record-keeping.

In Illinois, under Mayor Richard M. Daley’s leadership, the General Assembly has already passed legislation to close the state gun show loophole. However, because the vast majority of other states have not closed their loopholes, criminals can simply go outside of Illinois and buy guns at gun shows in neighboring states without a background check, and then bring them into Illinois.
“If we are serious about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, we must work together to close this loophole,” said Weis.

To illustrate the importance of toughening the laws that govern access to firearms, Superintendent Weis cited several examples of weapons seized by Chicago Police that were traced back to gun shows, including:

  • One of the guns used in the June 2010 shooting death of Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham was traced back to a gun trafficker in Englewood. The guns he trafficked were obtained from straw purchases and gun show purchases in Mississippi.
  • In May 2010 Chicago Police apprehended another individual on Chicago Park District property,
    who was in possession of a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol. That weapon was traced back to a gun show in Crown Point, Indiana.
  • An individual who served twenty-six years in prison for first degree murder was found in possession of seven firearms, purchased from gun shows. At the time of his arrest, he had both receipts and advertising from various gun shows in Indiana.
  • In March 2010, John Bedell, who was prohibited by law from possessing guns, shot two Pentagon police officers with a gun purchased from a private seller at a Las Vegas gun show.

In Chicago, most violent crime involves firearms and the firearm of choice among criminals is a handgun. In the overwhelming majority of these cases, these crimes are committed by people who obtained these firearms illegally, and due to their criminal backgrounds, they shouldn’t have been able to have a gun in the first place. Therefore, the Superintendent pledged that the City of Chicago would continue to do everything possible to keep our streets safe for our residents, for our visitors, and for our Police Officers. Those
efforts include:

  • Seizing thousands of illegal weapons each year
  • Collecting almost 23,000 illegal weapons due to the City’s gun turn-in program
  • Advocating for common sense gun laws in Springfield and in Washington D.C. to make
    Chicago neighborhoods safer
  • Working with the Illinois General Assembly to adopt House Joint Resolution 51 which created
    the Interstate Gun Trafficking Task Force within the Illinois State Police in October 2009.
  • Working with the Congress to enact reasonable federal gun laws such as HB 2324 “We need laws that protect the rights of law abiding residents to purchase guns but also make it more difficult for criminals to obtain guns,” commented Weis.