Monday, January 3, 2011

Murder: A Tale of Three Cities

The Crime Report posted the following news blurbs on the same day. A cautionary tale of three cities and homicide rates going in opposite directions:

Chicago recorded 435 homicides in 2010, marking the city’s lowest murder total in 45 years, reports the Chicago Tribune. The number was down from 460 in 2009 and 513 in 2008, and is the lowest since 1965, when the city had 395 killings. “That is an astonishing and big drop,” Franklin Zimring of the University of California at Berkeley told the Tribune. The decline is part of a decade long trend in violent crime in Chicago and across the nation.

In New York City, there were 526 homicides, a 13.4 percent increase from last year’s record low of 471, according to the Wall Street Journal. The eighth year in a row that there were under 600 murders. Reported rapes are up 15 percent this year and robberies have risen by 5.1 percent. Felony assaults are up 0.7 percent; shooting incidents climbed 3.6 percent.

Houston’s police homicide division reported 267 people were murdered in Houston’s city limits in 2010 — a nearly 7 percent decline from the year before, when 287 were murdered. In the unincorporated areas of Harris County, preliminary statistics show 74 people were murdered in 2010, a 20 percent decline from the 93 people killed in 2009.

The number of murders declined in Houston for the fifth consecutive year in 2010, and the number of homicides dropped in Harris County’s unincorporated areas, even as the population increased in both places, reported the Houston Chronicle. Harris County, which typically leads the nation in death sentences, condemned only two people to death in 2010.

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