Surging Chicago Murder Rates Single-Handedly Driving Up Overall National Average

The Brennan Center for Justice has just updated its annual crime report, and the surge in violent crime and murder rates across the country is somewhat staggering.  While the Brennan Center continues to downplay the YoY increases, saying "concerns about a national crime wave are still premature," the numbers seem to paint a different story with murder rates in the largest 30 U.S. cities expected to increase 15.5% in 2016.  Meanwhile, that number would be over 17% if the study reflected the most recent 2016 Chicago murder estimate of 800.

The violent crime rate is projected to increase slightly, by 3.3 percent, driven by increases in Chicago (17.7 percent increase) and Charlotte (13.4 percent increase). This is less than the 5.5 percent increase initially projected in the September report. Violent crime still remains near the bottom of the nation’s 30-year downward trend.

 

The 2016 murder rate is projected to be 14 percent higher than last year in the 30 largest cities. Chicago is projected to account for 43.7 percent of the total increase in murders. The preliminary 2016 report identified some reasons for increasing violence in Chicago, such as falling police numbers, poverty and other forms of socioeconomic disadvantage, and gang violence. A similar phenomenon occurred in 2015, when a group of three cities — Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. — accounted for more than half of the increase in murders. This year Baltimore and Washington, D.C., are projected to see their murder rates decline, by 6 percent and 18.6 percent, respectively.

 

An increase in the murder rate is occurring in some cities even while other forms of crime remain relatively low. Concerns about a national crime wave are still premature, but these trends suggest a need to understand how and why murder is increasing in some cities.

Of course, the stunning increase in Chicago murders (expected to increase over 55% in 2016) does account for over 50% of the overall increase in murders in the country's largest 30 cities.  That said, per the chart below, several other cities, including San Antonio, Dallas, Memphis and Las Vegas, are starting to reflect some concerning trends of their own. 

Brennan Center

 

Meanwhile, per HeyJackAss!, even though the colder weather was supposed to "chill" weekend violence in Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods, it appears to be having little impact at all as the city just recorded one of it's most deadly weekends of the year. 

Chicago Murders

 

With 769 murders recorded year to date, the Windy City looks to still be on pace to exceed 800 for the full year... 

Chicago Murders

 

...which would be a 57% YoY increase and the most recorded murders since 1995.

Chicago Murders

 

That said, "concerns about a national crime wave are still premature"...nothing to see here.