Surprise: Murders in Chicago at lowest level in nearly 50 years!
You may have heard or read today that there was a rash of shootings in Chicago over the weekend, and at least seven people were killed (HERE).
But you probably have not heard something Chicago Police spokesman Adam Collins SAID this morning:
While we’ve had fewer murders to date this year than any year since the mid-1960s, there’s more work to be done and we won’t rest until everyone in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety.
Did you get that? Fewer murders to date this year than any year since the mid-1960s.
How can that be? How do we reconcile that with what the politicians and the media and the pathological Chicago-haters have been telling us. Chicago is supposed to be the murder capital of America, isn’t it?
Well, perhaps it’s supposed to be, to hear some people tell it. But the reality is something else, as we see HERE:
Both the mainstream media and the right-wing echo chamber repeat persistent lies about Chicago’s gun crime. Whether intentionally or negligently, the media continues to perpetuate false statements about guns and homicides in Chicago and those falsehoods get repeated uncritically through blogs and social media on a daily basis. Regardless of one’s position on issues like gun control, it is important that when Chicago is used as an example, that all parties to the debate have the correct facts at their disposal….
In an article titled “Deadly Distinction: Chicago Has the Highest Murder Rate in the U.S.,” BET News perpetuated the myth that Chicago has the highest murder rate in the United States. The article went on to state “It’s well-known that gun violence is an issue for many inner cities across the U.S. But Chicago, in particular, has the most alarming rates, almost double that of New York City.” But then the article compared Chicago to only one city, New York City. Based on that single comparison they concluded that Chicago has the highest murder rate in the nation.
Sure, they were probably repeating what has been repeated over and over in the media, but a simple fact check of FBI crime statistics that are publicly available would reveal over two dozen cities with higher homicide rate’s than Chicago’s rate of 15.9 murders per 100,000 residents. Chicago is not even close to having the highest rate for murders. Of cities over 100,000 population, Chicago does not even crack the top 25. It ends up in 26th place. If you include all of the cities above 40,000 that the FBI keeps homicide data for, Chicago winds up ranking 41st, a far cry from number one.
Indeed, even if Chicago doubled its homicide total it still would have finished with a lower murder rate than nine US cities including Camden, New Orleans, Flint, Detroit, Gary (IN), York (PA), St. Louis, Newark and Wilmington (DE). The top four cities (Camden, New Orleans, Flint and Detroit) had homicide rates that were more than triple Chicago’s rate, and cities like Ft. Myers, Florida and Gulfport, Mississippi that receive very little media attention had homicide rates that were considerably higher than Chicago’s rate of 15.9 per 100,000. I guess saying Chicago is number 41 would not have the same ominous ring to it.
On April 10, 2013 CNN Health’s Jen Christensen wrote an article titled “Chicago’s record murder rate: Don’t blame guns alone.”…[T]he title and the text implied that Chicago had a record murder rate in 2012. Where this myth originated is not clear…
The 506 homicides Chicago recorded in 2012 did not even approach the city record. In 1974, Chicago had 970 homicides, nearly double the total in 2012. Every year from 1970 to 2003 and the year 2008 all exceeded the 2012 homicide total in Chicago. Reporting a homicide rate that is just barely over half the record rate as a record is irresponsible journalism. We would not tolerate CNN’s weather page calling a 75 degree July day in Phoenix a record high, so why should we tolerate such blatant misreporting of Chicago’s homicide statistics?