While Chicago’s murder rate appears headed for an historic low in 2013, a new study from Yale University highlights an important truth: your chance of being murdered in Chicago depends on where you live.
The study, which examined major crime trends from 1965 to 2013, found that the city is expected to have its lowest overall murder rate since 1967, and the lowest violent crime rate since 1972.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy and others have pointed to a combination of comprehensive crime-fighting tactics, firearms seizures, police overtime and programs such as job training for at-risk youth as important steps in reducing murders and crime overall.
Yet the study shows that in many ways, Chicago remains a divided city when it comes to crime.
While 16 out of 77 community areas in the city saw a 25 percent or greater drop in violent crime rates from 2011-2013, other areas of the city continued to see a decades-long pattern of high violent crime rates.
The study showed long-term concentration of high rates of homicide and violence are concentrated on the West and South sides of the city in communities such as East and West Garfield Park, Englewood, and Fuller Park.
For example, the study found the average homicide rate from 2000 to 2010 in West Garfield Park was nearly 64 per 100,000 residents, whereas the average homicide rate in Jefferson Park, located on Chicago’s Northwest side, was only 3.10 per 100,000 residents.
Only 10 communities experienced increases in crime from 2011 to 2013. Many of those communities, such as Lincoln Square, Lake View, North Park, Jefferson Park and Montclare, are traditionally low-crime communities, and saw numerically small increases in crime.
Despite a recent tag as “murder capital of the country”, the study showed Chicago ranks 19th in the country in violent crime. In 2012, Chicago lagged cities such as Detroit, Oakland and St. Louis.