Chicago is known for being a violent city. While the homicide rate decreased between 2016 and 2017, it is still unacceptably high. Add to that an increase in carjackings over the past year, and it’s no wonder the city has developed it’s status a violent crime capital of the country.
But a recent FBI report reveals that these perceptions aren’t the whole truth.
The report says that the city with the highest rate of violent crime per capita in Illinois is actually Rockford. The list limited the cities they looked at to populations of at least 50,000 people.
Last year in Rockford there were 166 violent crimes per 10,000 people.
The city was also considered one of the most dangerous across the country in 2016 as well, with a rate of 835 violent crimes per 100,000 people, with 1,238 reported violent crimes overall.
The FBI has not released the full report for this year yet, but Neighborhood Scout, a real estate database, lists 2,496 violent crimes last year. If these statistics are accurate, this means that violent crime has essentially doubled in Rockford in just one year.
The most dangerous cities in neighboring states are Milwaukee in Wisconsin and Elkhart in Indiana.
Overall, crime has decreased across the country between 2016-17 but this was after a trend of an increase in homicides in large cities from 2015-16.
USA Today writes that there were “5,738 homicides in the nation’s 50 biggest cities in 2017 compared with 5,863 homicides in 2016, a roughly 2.3% reduction.”
Chicago saw a 14% reduction in homicides between 2016-17 and the rate is comparatively lower than other cities across the country. “Baltimore is the big city with the highest per capita murder rate in the nation, with nearly 56 murders per 100,000 people,” writes USA Today. “At 343 murders in 2017, the city tallied the highest per capita rate in its history.”
Columbus, Ohio also saw a drastic increase in homicides, totaling at 143, the most the city has ever seen in a single year.
The USA Today analysis notes that New York City has seen a drastic decrease in homicides, after hitting over 2,000 in a single year in 1990.
“In New York, they concentrated on the right neighborhoods, they’ve invested well in predictive analytics and technology,” said Peter Scharf, a criminologist at the LSU School of Public Health and Justice. “The other part of what we’re seeing nationally might be a story of haves and have-nots. While some departments have made the investments, other police departments are still in the backwater of policing.”
Chicago police have been developing new strategies with regards to crime prediction and prevention. One part of this includes the controversial Strategic Subject List that ranks people who can be either a victim or a perpetrator of a crime.
The department has also developed Strategic Decision Support Centers in various neighborhoods to be able to focus officers in high-risk areas where crime might occur.