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The Truth About Violence in Chicago
Townhall.com ^ | July 20, 2014 | Steve Chapman

Posted on 07/20/2014 9:09:44 AM PDT by Kaslin

Living in a city that had 82 shootings over the Fourth of July weekend, Chicagoans could be forgiven for envying the residents of Indianapolis.

Imagine living in a place where homicides have been reduced by more than half in the past two decades, where robberies are less common than they've been in nearly half a century, where car theft is at levels not seen since "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was still in production.

Actually, that's where Chicagoans do live. I was only pretending to talk about Indianapolis. Those developments have all occurred right here.

Right now, the city is getting national as well as local attention for outbreaks of bloodshed, which reinforce its reputation as the murder capital of America. In terms of total homicides, it may be. But that figure fails to account for population.

In the overall rate of violent crime, Chicago ranks 19th -- slightly worse than Minneapolis and better than Kansas City, Indianapolis and Nashville. It has half as much violent crime, per capita, as Detroit or Oakland, Calif.

Even when it comes to homicide, Chicago is enjoying, relatively speaking, a golden age. In 1992, it had 943 murders -- 2.6 per day. Last year, it had 415 -- 1.1 per day. Two decades ago, such progress was the stuff of dreams.

In 2013, the murder rate (homicides per 100,000 residents) was the lowest it had been since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. So far, the homicide total for 2014 is 206, a bit below last year's pace.

Taken as a whole, the city has not gotten more dangerous. It has gotten less dangerous -- much less. Nor does it stand out among its peers. "Chicago's overall violent crime rate is not exceptional when compared to other large cities," writes Yale University sociologist Andrew Papachristos in a recent study.

None of this is any comfort to recent victims of crime or to the families of young people who are gunned down in the street. But it's crucial to understanding the nature and size of the problem. High levels of criminal violence are a terrible reality in some neighborhoods, but not in most.

Even in the most dangerous areas, things may be improving. Papachristos contends that "even in the highest crime communities, crime is going down. ... Nearly all communities in Chicago experienced a decline in murder and overall crime over the past several decades."

That point is not undisputed. Daniel Kay Hertz, a master's student at the University of Chicago's Harris School, calculates that several of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods have gotten worse, not better.

No one doubts that the bulk of the violence is concentrated in particular places. People in most of the city are pretty safe. In the remainder of the city, though, the level of violence is staggering.

What accounts for it? One is the strength and reach of street gangs. In 2012, the Chicago Crime Commission reported that Chicago has more gang members than any city in America. Some 80 percent of murders involve gang members, either as the killer or the killed.

Gangs are as much a symptom of the city's problems as a cause. Chicago has a lot of areas that are almost entirely black -- the result of decades of deliberate policies of racial segregation -- and largely poor. Jobs are scarce, vacant buildings abound, schools are often inferior, good role models are hard to come by -- and crime is a brutal fact of daily life.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, in a recent article in The Atlantic, wrote: "Chicago's impoverished black neighborhoods -- characterized by high unemployment and households headed by single parents -- are not simply poor; they are 'ecologically distinct.'"

Kids trapped in these areas face innumerable hurdles to success, omnipresent dangers to life and limb, and constant pressures to become part of the criminal class. So the tangle of pathology, as it has been called, tends to be self-perpetuating.

No one has come up with a way to untangle it that is practically plausible and politically salable. More police would help. So would ending the drug war. Better schools hold some promise. Economic development is indispensable. Neglect will only make things worse.

Judged as a whole, Chicago is doing a lot of things right. Judged by the plight of its least fortunate, that's not nearly enough.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: corruption; murder

1 posted on 07/20/2014 9:09:44 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Maybe if Chicago had stricter gun laws it wouldn’t be so violent. /liberal


2 posted on 07/20/2014 9:13:34 AM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: Kaslin
Gangs are as much a symptom of the city's problems as a cause. Chicago has a lot of areas that are almost entirely black -- the result of decades of deliberate policies of racial segregation -- and largely poor. Jobs are scarce, vacant buildings abound, schools are often inferior, good role models are hard to come by -- and crime is a brutal fact of daily life.

It must be the fault of all the Republicans inner-city blacks keep voting for.

3 posted on 07/20/2014 9:14:13 AM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: vbmoneyspender

Good point. Maybe if they gained some sense and started voting Democrat, things would be taken care of in a jiffy.


4 posted on 07/20/2014 9:17:34 AM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: Kaslin

Crime might be down because of the record number of criminals currently behind bars.


5 posted on 07/20/2014 9:23:50 AM PDT by Ultima
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To: Kaslin

Cities have always been places of violence. Even in the biblical times they were dens of thuggery, thievery, and depravity. Its in human nature and won’t be changed.

The best thing you can do to ease the level of violence is to let all people defend themselves as they must. Its why the crime rate is in free fall in Detroit. Open carry and a police chief who encourages people to defend themselves.


6 posted on 07/20/2014 9:33:40 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: Ultima

“Crime might be down because of the record number of criminals currently behind bars.”

A lot of them have moved North to Milwaukeestan, Madistan and the Twin Cities in search of new ‘members’ and victims. (I couldn’t think of how to add, ‘stan’ to Twin Cities.) Welcomed with open arms from idiot liberals in those cities, I might add!

Three summers ago, my little Cow Town of 8K souls had two rival gangs shooting at one another at 2pm in the afternoon, near an Elementary School while the kids were on recess.

180 shells picked up by the cops, afterwards. ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY!

Didn’t change our stupid local sheriff’s opinion on gun control one tiny bit. He’s still for disarming the lawful.

We live in Upside down World!


7 posted on 07/20/2014 9:36:51 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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To: Kaslin
Taken as a whole, the city has not gotten more dangerous. It has gotten less dangerous -- much less.

Chapman has taken the leap from ideological to delusional which admittedly, for a far left liberal, is a thin line.

8 posted on 07/20/2014 9:38:44 AM PDT by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Kaslin

Lord knows we wouldn’t want to hold blacks themselves responsible for what they do.


9 posted on 07/20/2014 9:41:24 AM PDT by Altura Ct.
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To: Kaslin

With all due respect to loyal FReepers who live in the area, Chacago is a pit.

Joke I heard last week:

Q: What’s the number one advantage of living in Chicago?

A: You have someplace to move away from.

Lots o’ places could be subbed for Chicago. Detroit, NYC, etc.


10 posted on 07/20/2014 9:41:55 AM PDT by upchuck (The country is being billed for its own execution. ~ h/t: SpaceBar)
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To: Kaslin

SOme magic words in this:

“Per capita” - red flag that the stats about to be shown are B.S.

Crime is down because the cops are **lying** about the crime - oops, that was too harsh. “Properly classifying” the crime. If you didn’t see you car ripped of, how do you know it was just towed?

Chicago, our very own Banana Republic in the heartland...

No, thanks. Try selling this swill to someone who might believe it.


11 posted on 07/20/2014 9:45:26 AM PDT by ASOC (What are you doing now that Mexico has become OUR Chechnya?)
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To: Kaslin

Nothing can be done for the black underclass that is either constitutional or what is considered moral. But nevertheless, the black underclass costs the country half a trillion to a trillion dollars a year in crime and welfare. No amount of programs or appeals to join the national family will help.


12 posted on 07/20/2014 10:00:14 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Kaslin

No one has the guts to mention that leftist policies has turned blacks from relatively law-abiding folks with cohesive families into welfare, dysfunctional, pro-black and Muslim ideology, and gang magnets.


13 posted on 07/20/2014 10:00:20 AM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: coloradan

Chicago has plenty of shootings, but few aimings and fewer hittings. Occasionally someone does get hit by a stray bullet, but gang members are more interested in looking tough, talking trash and acting tough. They like to wave a gun around and sometimes it goes off.

Its kind of like the politicians that like to talk like they’re against this and against that, shoot their mouth off, and occasionally pass a bill; but rarely actually hit their mark. Think of all those jobs programs, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, affordable health care...


14 posted on 07/20/2014 11:05:15 AM PDT by Qout
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To: Kaslin

The inner cities are the Democrat black plantations. Until these slaves of the welfare class are freed from Democrat politics, it’s only gonna get worse.


15 posted on 07/20/2014 11:11:36 AM PDT by OrioleFan (Republicans believe every day is July 4th, Democrats believe every day is April 15th.)
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To: upchuck
Chicago is not a "pit." Gary, Indiana is a pit.

Unless you think pits have nice restaurants, and museums.

16 posted on 07/20/2014 11:18:43 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Kaslin
No one doubts that the bulk of the violence is concentrated in particular places. People in most of the city are pretty safe. In the remainder of the city, though, the level of violence is staggering.

Translation: Segregation works for the non-criminal class because the black criminal class mostly preys upon other black people.

I bet he never meant to say THAT! Lemme think on that a minute...

17 posted on 07/20/2014 11:32:52 AM PDT by Kenton
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To: Kaslin

Re: “Chicago has a lot of areas that are almost entirely black — the result of decades of deliberate policies of racial segregation.”

Bunk!

Both sides of my family lived within a few blocks of the University of Chicago from 1900-1960.

We were the only Germans in an overwhelmingly Irish neighborhood.

In 1960, all four of my grandparents gave up on the place they had lived their entire lives and moved to the suburbs.

Because their old neighborhood was being overrun by Blacks and the crime rate that comes with them.


18 posted on 07/20/2014 1:23:29 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Ultima
Re: "Crime might be down because of the record number of criminals currently behind bars."

Attorney General Holder is releasing 46,000 “non-violent” drug offenders.

Welcome Back, Mr. Kotter!

19 posted on 07/20/2014 1:29:35 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: zeestephen
In 1960, all four of my grandparents gave up on the place they had lived their entire lives and moved to the suburbs.

Because their old neighborhood was being overrun by Blacks and the crime rate that comes with them.

In 1961 my (late) neighbors did the same thing . . . for the same reasons. Funny thing, I know for a FACT that at least 2 of them were made members of the "Chicago Outfit".

20 posted on 07/20/2014 1:53:53 PM PDT by Petruchio (Democrats are like Slinkies... Not good for anything, but it's fun pushing 'em down the stairs.)
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To: Kaslin

Maybe if welfare were ended and single women married one if the fathers of their brood of bastards, things would get better. Liberals never think of that solution.


21 posted on 07/20/2014 2:13:25 PM PDT by WashingtonSource
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