Friday, August 6, 2010

Chicago’s Crime Problem: Reality or Sensationalism

Crime is declining in Chicago yet no one seems to know it, or believe it. The police are trying to persuade jittery Chicagoans to ignore the fear factor because, bad as it seems, crime is going down.

Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis blames a “24/7 news cycle" for creating the mistaken impression that crime is on the rise. Weis noted that crime has dropped for "19 consecutive months" and that July homicides were down 24-percent from the same period a year ago.

Weis told the Chicago Sun-Times, "I would never stand here and say that the violence we're suffering in Chicago is acceptable. It's not. But I do think it's important to frame things. For the past 20 years, we were hovering in the 800-to-900 homicide range . . . We've cut that in half.”

However, many in Chicago think that things can get a whole lot better. The Sun-Times reported that in 2009, there were 16 murder victims per 100,000 residents in Chicago. That's at least double the murder rates in Los Angeles, 8 per 100,00 and New York, 6 per 100,000. When it comes to robbery and aggravated battery, Chicago's rates dwarf those of L.A. and New York.

As Mayor Richard M. Daley faces re-election, crime will be a major issue. The question is—will the reality of falling crime rates or the illusion of greater lawlessness control the debate?

To read more:,CST-NWS-daley04.article

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