Video: Chicago murders worse now than during Capone’s era

posted at 10:01 am on February 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Via Instapundit, this really shouldn’t come as much of a shock.  That’s actually been true for decades. ABC’s Chicago affiliate runs the numbers and informs its viewers that the numbers today, as bad as they are, are still an improvement from the previous generation.  But are these numbers deceptive?

In this I-Team report, Chicago’s rising murder rate in a new context, how the numbers of shooting deaths compare to the city’s most notorious crime era, the one that has tarnished Chicago’s reputation around the world for a century.

The surprising stats show the city is worse off now in the category of murder than at the height of the era that has driven Chicago’s reputation for almost a century, Capone’s “gangland” Chicago. …

The 42 murders in January is nowhere near the most ever in a month, but even that figure is not from the rat-a-tat-tat years. It is from the early 90s, when police also said a mix of gangs and drugs fueled the tremendous number of killings.

In January 1992 there were 77 murders in Chicago. That is the January record. Most of the murders then and this year were with guns. That was also the case in 1929.

Of course, the ABC report uses the number of murders without taking into consideration the crime rate, which is a calculation made on population size.  Chicago still has one of the worst murder rates in the nation, if not the worst, but has the population of the city changed enough to vary the rate?  According to Boston University … no.  The Census population of Chicago in 1920 was 2,701,705, and in 1990 it was only 82,000 more at 2,783,726.  According to the Census Bureau now, it’s 2,695,598 — almost exactly what it was in Capone’s heyday.

The point about gun control made in the clip is still valid, either way — the heavy gun-control regime of the city hasn’t done much to lower the murder rate or overall number of murders.

David Axelrod blames the suburbs, or something:

“We live in Chicago, and one of the reasons we have such a huge problem in this city is that all around us are areas with weak laws and with very lax background checks and a lot of illegal guns flow into this city,” Axelrod told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. “Every law enforcement official will tell you that.”

Meanwhile, Jesse Jackson wants Barack Obama to focus on his adopted home town, and to send in the feds (via Javier Manjarres):

Before a march on the city’s South Side, Jackson, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said America’s third most populous city needed more help than Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police superintendent Garry McCarthy could offer.

“When the president shows up, it shows ultimate national seriousness,” said Jackson, a Chicago resident. He also called for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help patrol the streets of Chicago.

Gun violence in Chicago has been in the national spotlight over the past year, with 506 murders in 2012, an increase of 17 percent from the previous year. As of Thursday, there were 42 homicides and 157 shootings so far this year, according to Chicago police.

Those darned suburbs!


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