Besides its gangland problems, Chicago saw a major rise in violent crime starting in the late 1960s. Murders in the city peaked first in 1974, with 970 murders when the city's population was over three million, resulting in a murder rate of around 29 per 100,000, and again in 1992, with 943 murders when the city had fewer than three million people, resulting in a murder rate of 34 per 100,000.
Following 1992, the murder count slowly decreased to 641 in 1999. In 2002, Chicago had fewer number of murders but a significantly higher murder rate than New York or Los Angeles.
Violent crime rates by neighborhood
In 1916, 198 homicides were recorded in Chicago, for a city of slightly over 2 million. This level of crime was not exceptional when compared to other American cities such as New York City, but it was much higher relative to European cities, such as London. Although three times the size, London recorded only 45 homicides in the same year. Specialists have developed numerous theories for the higher rates of violence in the US.
Chicago police officers in Marquette Park.
Like other major industrial cities in the US, Chicago had a major rise in violent crime starting in the late 1960s. Like most major American cities, Chicago has also experienced a decline in overall crime since the early 1990s. Murders in the city peaked first in 1974, with 970 murders when the city's population was over three million (resulting in a murder rate of around 29 per 100,000), and again in 1992, with 943 murders when the city had fewer than three million people, resulting in a murder rate of 34 per 100,000. Following 1992, the murder count slowly decreased to 705 by 1999. That year it still had the most murders of any big city in the U.S.
After adopting crime-fighting techniques in 2004 recommended by the Los Angeles and New York City Police Departments, Chicago recorded 448 homicides, the lowest total since 1965. This murder rate of 15.65 per 100,000 population is still above the U.S. average, an average which takes in many small towns and suburbs. This homicide rate is similar to that of Los Angeles in 2004 (13.4 per 100,000), and twice that of New York City (7.0 per 100,000). Chicago's homicide tally increased slightly in 2005 and 2006 to 450 and 467, respectively, though the overall crime rate in 2006 continued the downward trend that has taken place since the early 1990s, with 2.5% fewer violent crimes and 2.4% fewer property crimes compared to 2005.
According to the 2005 Homicide Report of the Chicago Police Department, the murder clearance rate (in terms of an arrest being made within two years of the homicide) has dropped from over 70% for 1991 to under 60% for 2003. Summer months have significantly higher murder rates, and over 70% of murders take place between 7PM and 5AM. The percentage of murder offenders between 14 and 16 years of age has declined from a 1994 high of approximately 15% to approximately 6% in 2005.
In 2005, 75% of murders involved a firearm, and 11% were the result of a stabbing. 41% of domestic murders were stabbings. 10% of murders in 2005 (39) were the result of an armed robbery, 9% were of undetermined cause, and at least 30% were gang altercations. Over 40% of victims and 60% of offenders were between the ages of 17 and 25. 85% of victims and 93% of offenders were male. 76% of victims were African American (77.4% of offenders were), 18.3% were Hispanic (17.3% of offenders), and 5.6% were white (5.3% of offenders). The African American murder victimization rate was approximately 34 per 100,000; the Hispanic rate was 11 per 100,000, and the white rate 3 per 100,000. Over 75% of victims and 88% of offenders had a prior arrest history. 11% of armed robbery victims were female, 50% of domestic victims were female, and 7% of gang-related victims were female. 31% of armed robbery victims were over 45 years old. 29% of domestic-related murders were committed by women. From 1991 to 2005, 19.2% of armed robbery murder victims were white, and only 4.3% of armed robbery murder offenders were white.
(2005) Victims of gang-related murders: 70% African American, 26% Hispanic, 3% white; 93% male. Offenders in gang-related murders: 76% African American, 20% Hispanic, 3% white; 99% male. Victims of domestic-related murders: 79% African American, 10% Hispanic, 11% white. Victims of armed robbery—related murders: 68% African American, 13% Hispanic, 19% white, 89% male. Offenders in armed robbery—related murders: 87% African American, 9% Hispanic, 4% white; 93% male.