The City of Chicago Looks Back at it’s 2019 Crime Statistics

This week’s blog is written by Dion McGill, SCY Communications and Community Outreach Manager.

Happy 2020 Everyone!

We hope you all have had a fabulous and triumphant holiday season!  Now, as we move into the new year, I suppose the thing that many people like to do is look back at the previous year.

More specifically, as you may, or may not have heard, the City of Chicago recently had a press conference to tout the double-digit drops in murders and shootings in Chicago in 2019…on New Years Eve…at 10pm.  I actually got a push notification on my phone while I was out enjoying the festivities.

According to the city, 492 people were killed in 2019, 13% lower than the 567 who were murdered in 2018.  And that reduction in homicides builds on a gradual decrease from 658 in 2017 and 778 in 2016. (Source)

However, The Chicago Sun-Times tracked 503 homicides in 2019.  And, just as interestingly, the Chicago violence tracking site HeyJackass! Tracked 514 homicides in 2019.

While these discrepancies are normal, it’s a perfect reminder that the story being told is only as good as the numbers being used to tell it.  Some of you may remember the 3-part special report done by Chicago Magazine in 2014 that offered a dose of healthy skepticism on these types of number discrepancies. IRE also did a great Behind the Story article on this report.

However, it is nice to know that the work that many parties and stakeholders are doing here in the city is working.  It was also very refreshing to hear the police chalk up the progress to “Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s violence reduction strategy, which “mobilized additional resources, technology and collaboration with a number of city partners as well as violence interrupters, block clubs and street outreach organizations across Chicago’s neighborhoods.”

The Chicago Police also credited the reduction in crime to the removal of the highest amount of illegal guns from the streets since 2012, with over 10,800 guns recovered, police said. (Source)

This would also be a perfect time to direct you to the Chicago 2018 Gun Trace Report.  With no gun stores actually inside the city limits, it’s staggering to think exactly how 10,000+ guns get inside the city. Hopefully we will also get a new Gun Trace report in 2020.

If you take a look at the news articles below, you can read about more of the milestones of 2019, including drops in roberries, burglaries, and carjackings.

We can only hope that this is the beginning of many more positive trends in Chicago.

Also, I was unable to find a copy of the raw data offered by the City of Chicago.  If anyone would like to share it with us, we will add a link to this article.  Thanks!

What are your thoughts on the crime statistics of 2019?  Did you perceive drops in violence in your community?  Across the city?  Let us know below in the comments!

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