Murder and crime are sadly nothing new in our city but when there is a clear pattern of attacks, the assailant may be attributed to something even more sinister than gang violence or domestic disputes.
Last week on HBO, Vice asked the question: is there a serial killer roaming the streets of Chicago?
In November 2007, two women were found strangled and burning in dumpsters near Washington Park. They were killed within 48 hours of each other. These cases, as well as similar ones in Grand Crossing, Belmont-Cragin, and other neighborhoods over a ten year period, have never been solved.
Vice interviewed two people that have concluded separately that the possibility of a serial killer in Chicago is very real. Mikki Kendall writes about various issues, including but not limited to feminism, police accountability, current events, and more.
Kendall noticed this pattern of murder of which the most recent attack occurred last winter. She was asked why she thinks the Chicago Police Department is not paying more attention to these crimes. “I am not seeing a lot of effort on actual crime-solving,” she said. “You’re not seeing cops out in these neighborhoods knocking on doors and actually talking to people.”
Vice also interviewed investigative journalist and co-founder of the Murder Accountability Project Tom Hargrove who developed similar conclusions as Kendall. Hargrove and his partner, a retired FBI agent, developed an algorithm to track homicide patterns. Their algorithm detected a large number of unsolved crimes in the strangulations of young African-American women.
According to Hargrove, a serial killer may feel they can get away with their murders more easily in Chicago than other cities, due to the low clearance rate, or the percentage of murders solved. “Illinois has the worst clearance rate of any state in the nation,” said Hargrove.
Chicago has solved less than 20% of its murders over the last thirty years, although this may not even be correct as Chicago stopped reporting its clearance rate in 1995. By comparison, the clearance rate in New York City is 69.25% and in Los Angeles is 73.8%.
As Chicago has a long history of being connected to serial killers, from H.H. Holmes to John Wayne Gacy, it’s no wonder the city and the state are not eager to develop any further associations. These connections linger beyond just mental associations: earlier this year, a victim of Gacy’s was identified.
The CPD didn’t respond to immediate requests from Vice to confirm clearance rates, but eventually offered conflicting information and they don’t believe that there is enough evidence to confirm the existence of a serial killer.