Tags: murder | chicago | violence

Chicago Ends 2013 With Lowest Murder Rate Since '70s

By Elliot Jager   |   Tuesday, 31 Dec 2013 07:25 AM

Chicago is slated to end 2013 with fewer murders than at any time since the early 1970s with 412 homicides, according to National Public Radio.

The city's worst year for homicides was 1992 when there were 943. The murder figure for the past year is about 100 fewer than 2012.

Much of the city's violence is gang related with the highest rates concentrated in African American neighborhoods in the West and South sides of the city, according to a Yale University study.

Chicago ranks 19th in violent crime — no worse than Houston or Minneapolis and considerably better than Detroit, Oakland, and St. Louis, where the murder rate is double or more than that of Chicago's, the study found. In 2012, for example, there were over 2,000 murders in Detroit.

Besides murder, motor vehicle theft and robbery rates in Chicago are also on the decline, the Yale study also found.

But despite the decline in killings, Chicagoans who live in high crime neighborhoods do not feel any safer.

"Well, where I come from, they shoot every day, all day, but it's not safe nowhere in Chicago. Wherever you go, it's not safe," Natjuan Herrin told NPR.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel accepts that people's perceptions don't match the numbers.

"We are not going to rest until people feel the reality of these numbers. It is day in and day out work, and I'm not going to let anybody working for me rest until that feeling is shared throughout the city," Emanuel said.

The federal government is cooperating on bringing down the crime rate by providing resources to combat drug and gang activity.

Zach Fardon, U.S. attorney for northern Illinois, told NPR the city would be unable to solve the gang problem on its own.

"It is too big. It is too deep. It is too insidious. It starts at too young an age."

Fardon says his office will target "the worst of the worst" in violent felons. "We're all in. We'll be aggressive and strategic."

New York meanwhile reported a 20 percent drop in murders for 2013 with 333 homicides, according to the New York Daily News.

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