Homicide in Chicago: Statistics and Causes
The pattern of Homicide in Chicago from 1990 to now has decreased but has had a sudden increase in 2016. Murder rates were at its highest in the 1990s at about 30-35 homicides per 100,000 residents. Since then Chicago has had a sudden decline and homicide rates fell to an approximate of 16 homicides per 100,000 residents.
However in 2016-2017 there was a sudden spike where the Homicide rates increased. Many factors have contributed to the ‘great crime decline’ in chicago such as higher rates of incereation, increased police numbers and new policing strategies (C.A.P.S), improvements in gun control and receding crack epidemic. The Chicago Alternative Policing Strategies is a competent 5 step practice for law enforcement. This program was developed in 1993. The goal of C.A.P.S is to deal with and solve neighbourhood crime before and after it was committed. At first it was tested in 5 experimental districts out of 25 in chicago.
Patrol officers were divided The five step process consists of: identifying and prioritizing problems analyzing problems strategizing designs to deal with the problems implementing a plan evaluating effectiveness After C.A.P.S was implemented reports showed a major decrease in auto thefts in one area and street crime in another. More reports came out that drugs and gang related problems also had a major decline in two of the worst areas in Chicago. More information came out that even graffiti decreased a considerable amount in the area where it was found to be the worst. Another factor that contributed to the decrease in crime is the ageing population. Studies had found that most people who were related to crime and who were involved with crime were people in childhood and early adulthood and then usually tends to decline once they get older.
One reason why homicides had an increase was because of de-industrialisation meaning there was less economic opportunities (jobs). This meant that people needed to find a new way to get an income. Teenagers, young adults and gangs turned to drug dealing. This meant that there was a lot of violence between the gangs about where their ‘turfs’ are and where they could and how they could sell their drugs too. This had a big impact on the increase of homicides. As the Homicides in Chicago were having a downfall there was a sudden change of pattern where in 2016-2017 homicide rates increased. In 2014-2015 the homicide rates were at an all time low with 400 homicides per year. However in 2016 homicide rates quickly spiked at 770 homicides per year. Although that the homicide rate is still relatively high, in 2018 homicide rates dropped roughly 510 per year. As we study this variation we can see that the rate of homicides increased by 50% in just one year. Homicides increased in the west and south side of Chicago. Murder rates were highest in economically deprived places. These were frequently African-Americans and Hispanics. These economically deprived areas were mostly recognised as ‘Ghettos’’. Ghettos were mostly built around the major housing projects, where crime and Homicides were especially high. The Ghettos were mainly in the ‘loop’ – Chicago’s CBD. In 1990 most of these areas underwent major gentrification. Due to gentrification it has forced deprived communities (mostly African-American and hispanics) out of the city. This is called displacement. Once this happens they tend to move to the west and south side which has caused crime to be higher in that particular area. Displacement has caused crime rates to go up because as poorer communities are displaced, gangs are also displaced. When gangs move to new areas they are forced to find their new ‘gang turf’. When they are establishing new turf they tend to be more violent and intimidating to the opposing gangs.
Other than gentrification and displacement there has been other things that had caused the spike in 2016. There had been racist shootings by police for example: 17 year old Laquan Mcdonald (African-American) was shot 16 times by police officer Jason Van Dyke. This caused communities to lose trust in the police. After this police officers had trouble to patrol and do their jobs in black communities, especially during the Black Power Movement.
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