Why is My Chicago So Deadly This Year?

I’d rather know my favorite city, Chicago, as “The Windy City” or “Chi-town” and not as “the murder capital of America”!

It claimed that title in 1998, 2001, and 2003 with the number of people murdered.  However, if you look at per capita rates (murders vs. population), then Detroit, Michigan, and Baltimore, Maryland, would rank higher.

If things don’t change, Chicago could be on track to reclaim that title this year.  In mid-June, according to data from the FBI and the Department of Defense, almost twice the number of people were gunned down in Chicago versus the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan (228 to 144).

If you go back to 2001, about 2,000 troops have been killed in Afghanistan and more than 5,000 people have been murdered in Chicago.  I know that’s comparing apples to oranges, but the bottom line is that I don’t know if I’d feel safe walking the streets in the city I lived in for four years and the city that I’m considering move back to in the future.

So far, in 2012, the murder rate in Chicago has hit 250.  Last year, the city hit a new all-time low of 433 murders beating the previous low of 448 in 2007.

However, in 2003, Chicago had 598 murders and that was the first time since 1967 that the city has checked in with less than 600 murders.

And, that was a relief for those living in “The Windy City” because from 1999-2002, the city had four consecutive years with more than 900 murders in each of those years.

Chicago’s murder rate is four times that of New York City (population:  8.2 million) and twice that of Los Angeles (population:  3.8 million).  Chicago’s 2011 population is 2.7 million.

I moved to Chicago in the summer of 1994 and lived through the deadly heat wave of 1995 and moved away in 1996 to begin my television career.  I walked everywhere at all hours.  I’d walk from the Boystown (Lakeview) neighborhood to my apartment in Uptown almost nightly, at 3 or 4 a.m.

When I moved back to Chicago from 2002-2004, I would walk home at 3 or 4 a.m. from the clubs.  While I was aware of my surroundings, I never felt threatened.

And, any time I visit Chicago, I’m not afraid.  This picture is coming back from the Scissor Sisters concert in September 2010 in the Uptown neighborhood.  This was late at night and we didn’t feel threatened.

I’ve never been afraid to move around Chicago when I lived there or when I visit.  However, I definitely have reservations about it now.

This is a post from the uptownupdate.com website from Tuesday, July 3, 2012, “According to the Tribune, “At least 10 people have been shot in Chicago since 5 p.m. in Chicago, including a woman critically injured along with two other people in a drive-by shooting in the Sheridan Park neighborhood, authorities said.”

And, this picture is from Chicago’s southwest side in June where a shooting took place next door to a prom party.  Two people were killed and three others were hurt.

Chicago, I love you and I still want to move there.  I hope people wise up and put the guns away.  The sad reality is that violence and crime rates increase with the summer heat and if that’s the case, I pray for the safety of my friends that live in Chicago, or possibly “the murder capital of America” in 2012.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paul on July 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Those murders are typically in certain area’s of chicago AKA GHETTO’s. Downtown, uptown, andersonville, boystown, wrigleville, etc are still extreamly safe and nice. Also towns in the QC, Peroria, Gburg, etc have very similar crime rates. Its just not advertised as much as it is in Chicago.


    • Paul,

      I know many large cities have certain areas that are prone to more crime than others like Chicago’s south side and Milwaukee’s north side.

      However, while Chicago’s violence may be much higher in on the south side, this is becoming a city wide problem. I know for a fact that there has been more crime and violence in the Uptown and the Lakeview area.

      We have our problems in parts of the Quad Cities, too. But, not like Chicago.



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