Chicago Murder Rate Drops, but an Increase Is Possible

There is good news coming out of Chicago this year. But it’s not the kind of news that many people want to celebrate. The positive news is that the murder rate is down compared to 2012, by almost 100 deaths. In 2012, there were 503 murders. In 2013, there were 410 murders through Dec. 26. The 10-year average for Chicago is 458 murders.

It is important to note that murders don’t just happen in a vacuum. They usually are accompanied with other crimes, from robbery to assault to weapons crimes. The murder case might also include additional charges for weapons possessions too.

According to one criminal justice researcher, the good news of lower murders isn’t cause for celebration yet. He says that the odds show that the murder rate will probably climb in the following year. The researcher suggests that to combat murders and to continue bringing the number lower; cities need to be concerned with violence and focus their attention on the matter.

Such tactics may have worked in the past. 2012 began as a particularly high year for murders, so the head of the police took 200 officers off desk duty and reallocated them to the street, focusing on areas of the city that were prone to violence. That move was made in February 2012 and was followed in March 2012 by adding additional officers.

However, such a police presence comes at a premium. Chicago saw extremely high financial costs to the city in the form of overtime pay for officers.

Those who find themselves accused of violent crimes as a result of this massive police effort may feel the city is making up its costs with their penalties alone. If you are charged with burglary, robbery, or violent crime with a weapon, you need to ensure you aren’t stuck paying the city’s financial costs. Everyone is entitled to an attorney, and everyone is entitled to defend themselves against the charges.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, “Choosing Chicago’s murder toll,” Dec. 29, 2013

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