Murder in Chicago Spikes in 2012: Sharp Increase in Homicides in First Quarter

Between January 1, 2012 and April 1, 2012, Chicago Police recorded 120 homicides, compared to 75 murders during the same period in 2010 and 2011. The 60 percent increase was answered with Mayor Rahm Emanuel asking why new law enforcement tactics hadn’t been created before he was elected 10 months ago. “You can say, ‘Are you doing it right,'” Emanuel said, “but the question is, ‘Why were those policies not done before?'” However, according to FBI/UCR crime statistics, Chicago homicides were historically low from 2004 to 2010, except for the year 2008 (510). According RedeyeChicago.com, which tracks homicides, the homicide number for 2011 was 441 — also on the low side. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as Chicago’s mayor on Monday, May 16, 2011.

Non-fatal shootings also rose significantly during the first quarter of 2012. Nonfatal shootings (490) in the first quarter of 2012 increased 37 percent from 2011.

Street gangs are blamed for the increase in violent crime, and Chicago police have placed additional police officers in the Englewood and Harrison police districts. Harrison District homicides decreased to six homicides, but Englewood District homicides increased from 7 to 15. Some west side neighborhoods are also particularly dangerous. Homicides also rose significantly in the Ogden and Chicago Lawn police districts The unusually warm weather that occurred in March 2012 in Chicago is also suspected as a possible cause of the spike in homicides. Murders tend to rise with temperatures.

“It’s not just about gangs. It’s about people surviving. It’s about people trying to eat. It’s about people trying to pay their rent and take care of their family.”

— Chicago Alderman Walter Burnett

During one weekend in March 2012, 49 people were shot — 10 fatally. Most of the violence occurred in the south and southwest side neighborhoods.

HOMICIDES IN CHICAGO (Source: UCR FBI/ucrdatatool.gov)
1985: 666
1986: 744
1987: 687
1988: 660
1989: 742
1990: 850
1991: 925
1992: 939
1993: 845
1994: 928
1995: 824
1996: 789
1997: 757
1998: 703
1999: 641
2000: 631
2001: 666
2002: 648
2003: 598
2004: 448
2005: 448
2006: 468
2007: 443
2008: 510
2009: 458
2010: 432
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2011: 441 (RedeyeChicago.com homicide tracking)
January: 28
February: 25
March: 22
April: 30
May: 39
June: 44
July: 55
August: 37
September: 39
October: 48
November: 38
December: 36



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