Chicago Crime Rates

With approximately 2.7 million residents, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. As a large metropolitan area, the city has had a high crime rates for decades, and murders in the city spiked in 1974 when there were 970 homicides in one year. There was another spike in murder rates in 1992 when 943 homicides were committed, but law enforcement and government officials have worked hard to reduce crime, and crime rates have fallen steadily, especially murder rates. The most recent crime reports analyzing the statistics show the following information about Chicago crime rates:

Homicide

In 2014 there were 407 murders committed in Chicago, which is a 3% decrease from the previous year; over the past two years the murder rate in Chicago has dropped 19%. While homicide rates are down, there has been an increase in shootings. In fact, 85.1% of murders were due to gunshot wounds, while 7.2% were due to stabbings, and 3.5% of murders were the result of assaults. The majority of shooting and homicide victims were between the ages of 18-24, and young males were killed at a much higher rate than females.
Many of the shootings and homicides in Chicago are thought to be associated with gang violence. The city is now a prime distribution center for illegal drugs smuggled in by Mexican drug cartels, and gang rivalries and turf wars have led to an escalation in violence.

Rapes and Sexual Assaults

1,479 rapes and sexual assaults were reported in Chicago in 2014. This is a 2% increase over the previous year, but looking at stats from the last two years rapes and sexual assaults are down 4% historically.

Robbery

Chicago recorded 9,811 robberies in 2014, which is 17% lower than the previous year. Robbery rates in Chicago have dropped drastically, and the number of incidences has decreased by 30% over the past three years.

Aggravated Assaults

In 2014 there were 6,470 aggravated assaults reported in the city, which marks a 2% increase over the previous year. But the overall rate of aggravated assaults is down 21% compared to stats from three years ago.

Burglary

14,579 burglaries were committed in Chicago in 2014, which is 19% less than the previous year. Over the past three years burglary rates have decreased by 46%

Theft

15,028 incidences of theft were recorded in 2014, which is 4% lower than the previous year. Overall, theft in Chicago has dropped by 5% over the last three years.

Motor Vehicle Theft

10,089 motor vehicles were stolen in 2014, representing a 20% decrease from the previous year. Motor vehicle thefts in Chicago have dropped by 48% over the past three years.

Violent Crime Per Capita

As of 2014, Chicago’s violent crime rate was 884.6 per 100,000 residents. The average violent crime rate for the United States as a whole is 365.5 per 100,000 residents. While Chicago’s violent crime rate is higher than the national average, it is not in the top 10 list of cities with the highest violent crime rates in America.

The average murder rate per capita in the U.S. is 4.5 per 100,000 residents; the rate in Chicago is 15.09 per 100,000 residents. Chicago is not in the top 10 list of cities with the highest murder rate per capita.

Crime Focus for the Future

Chicago law enforcement and government officials are happy that a number of policies and new policing measures have led to a drop in both violent and property crimes. The focus going forward is to get a handle of the growing number of shootings, and decrease the amount of gang violence on the streets.

This will prove to be a difficult task, as most street gangs have relationships with Mexican drug cartels, particularly Los Zetas or the Sinaloa Cartel, and neither of these organizations are likely to decrease the amount of drugs that they bring into Chicago. Street gangs make the majority of their income selling and distributing illicit drugs, so violence is not likely to decrease while rival gangs battle each other to control territory and hold on to their lucrative drug markets. In late 2015, a 9 year old boy was targeted by gang members and shot to death; the boy was the son of a rival gang member and police are worried that gangs are now targeting innocent family members of gang members as a form of retaliation, which can only lead to a spike in violence.