Chicago Closes Out Year With Lower Murder Rate

Dec 26, 2013

Chicago had a much lower homicide rate than 2012.

Credit Photo credit by flickr user Tex Texin (CC BY 2.0)

Last year the number of murders in Chicago spiked to 500. This year, it was about a hundred less.

That’s an almost 20 percent drop. It is a little misleading given how bad 2012 was in the context of the last 5 years. But if you want to figure out why the number is back down again, well, that’s tough says criminologist Andrew Papachristos.

"In a city like Chicago there are just so many moving parts," Papachristos said.

Like gentrification, warmer weather, cooler weather, safe passage, and other innovations in policing.

"There are a lot of things you can do to say drive crime rates down today that may or may not have long term effects," Papachristos said.

As an example, he says violence intervention programs can bring down violence now and better schools can’t do that. But better schools would be an important part of a long-term anti-violence strategy.