The Federal Bureau of Investigation released it’s annual crime statistics report and the news isn’t good for the nation’s third largest city, Chicago. But anyone following the trend of violence in that particular city for the past few years could have made the prediction. Regardless, Yahoo News reported Sept. 19 that the city of Chicago topped the Bureau’s statistical list of cities with the most murders in 2012. By far.
That’s right. According to the FBI’s “Crime In The United States, 2012” report , two other cities — New York and Los Angeles — have larger populations than Chicago and they both had fewer murders in 2012. In fact, Chicago’s murders reached a total of 500 by Dec. 31, 2012, distancing New York City, which has a city proper population nearly three times that of Chicago, by 81 murders. The Windy City had 201 more murders than Los Angeles, a city with nearly 1.1 million more people inside its boundaries. Incidentally, Los Angeles ranked fifth overall, with Detroit and Philadelphia, the nation’s eighteenth and fifth largest cities (according to 2010 U. S. Census figures), respectively, insinuating themselves between.
Chicago’s rise to the top has come on a virtual wave gun violence that has gripped the lakefront metropolis for the past few years, driving the murder rate higher and higher while violent crime overall in the country was on a descending curve. That also changed in 2012 as the violent crime rate increased by 0.7 percent over the 2011 rate — the first increase recorded in a decade. The nation’s largest city, which topped the list over Chicago for 2011 by 84 murders, saw its lowest murder numbers since the statistics were first tracked in the 1960s. As for Chicago, the number of gang shootings and young people being caught up in hails of bullets has become common headlines and a national disgrace.
In fact, it has been pointed out on numerous occasions that Chicago’s murder numbers even top the number of American troops killed in Iraq in the last four years of the war. As can be seen by referencing iCasualties.org , the number also exceeds the average number killed per year (449) while the war was ongoing, from March 2003 to December 2011. Of course, the number of those murdered in the Illinois city far surpasses casualties in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.
Still, as bleak as the report might be, the city of Flint, Mich., appears to have it worse than Chicago, as the Washington Post pointed out . On a per capita basis, Flint is the murder capital of the U. S. Although it had less murders in 2012 than Chicago overall, the ratio of murders to the size of the city’s population (101,632) was greater. Flint, which has a population about 25 times smaller that of its cross-lake neighbor, has a murder rate of one per 1,613 people. Nearby Detroit, Mich., fares only a little better with one-quarter of Chicago’s population. They recorded 1 murder per 1,832 people. (Chicago’s murder rate is one per 5,391 people.)
And yet, city officials have reason to believe that the number of murders could decrease significantly by the end of 2013. As USA Today reported , after three people were murdered and 23 more were wounded (including 13 at a gang-related shooting incident at a South Side basketball court) in violence in just the last few days. The killings brought the city’s total number of murders to 305 thus far for 2013. There were 389 reported by the same time last year.
It is unknown at present whether or not Chicago will hold on to its deadly crown as the “murder capital” of the U. S., but it might. Midway through 2013 New York had recorded, per Mother Jones , almost 25 percent less murders than were tabulated by the same time in 2012.