New study reveals startling numbers about Chicago’s surge in violence

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CHICAGO -- A new study by the University of Chicago's Crime Lab released Tuesday gets into the who, what, where and how of Chicago's 764 in 2016. But it also goes into the why. Among the findings:

Who is getting killed?

  • The report says while African-Americans make up one-third of Chicago’s population, they represent 80 percent of homicide victims.
  • 40 percent of murder victims have more than 10 prior arrests.

How are they getting killed? Guns. 

90 percent of homicides in Chicago involve a gun, compared to just 58 percent in New York City, 72 percent in L.A., and 84 percent in Philadelphia.

Why is the spike happening?

Many have questioned whether police officers have essentially thrown up their hands in the wake of the intense scrutiny that came with the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video. University of Chicago Crime Lab researchers found:

  • Street stops dropped 80 percent in the months that followed the McDonald video, but similar declines in New York did not coincide with an increase in murders.
  • Detectives' inability to solve crimes may be contributing to Chicago’s violence problem. The 36 percent homicide solve rate dropped to 26 percent last year.
    Two years ago, just seven percent of shootings were solved. Last year it slipped to five percent.
  • Researchers conclude more criminals on the street may be “fueling a cycle of retaliatory violence.”

For all of the grim realities in this report, one stat that often gets overlooked: While Chicago is seeing more murders than it has in decades, stats show the per-capita murder rate in recent years is far higher in cities including St. Louis, Detroit, and even Rockford, Illinois.