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Despite Headlines, Chicago Crime At Lowest Levels In Decades

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(Credit: 48 Years Of Crime In Chicago, Andrew V. Papachristos)

(Credit: 48 Years Of Crime In Chicago, Andrew V. Papachristos)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Three people were killed and 17 others wounded in shootings across Chicago this weekend, but despite those numbers, one researcher says crime in the city is way down.

While at times Chicago has been in the national headlines when it comes in murder and other violent crime, the statistics show a different story.

A new study by Andrew Papachristos, a criminologist and associate professor at Yale University, shows that Chicago is on track to have the lowest murder rate in more than 45 years.

(Credit: 48 Years Of Crime In Chicago, Andrew V. Papachristos)

(Credit: 48 Years Of Crime In Chicago, Andrew V. Papachristos)

The overall violent crime rate is down to is lowest level in more than 40 years.

“Chicago has been getting a bad rap, where people claim we’re the murder capital of the country. It’s not even close,” said Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

Mayor Emanuel says what matters is whether residents feel safe.

“We’re not going to rest until people feel the reality of these numbers,” said Emanuel.

According to the study, Chicago ranks 19th in the country in violent crime.

That’s in line with Houston and Minneapolis among other large cities.


Overall, Chicago—like other U.S. cities—experienced a significant decline in overall crime and violent crime,” Papachristos wrote. “Present day levels of violent crime are, in fact, at their lowest rates in four decades.”

The findings include:

• Chicago appears to be on track to have both the lowest violent crime rate since 1972, and lowest homicide rate since 1967.

• Early data from 2013 indicates that the index crime rate will continue to fall with early estimates suggesting a rate of 4,251 per 100,000, a rate not seen since 1972.

• Chicago has seen a strong drop in violent crime over the last two years, with 16 out of 77 community areas (over 20%) reporting 25% or higher declines in violent crime rates from 2011-2013.

• From January 1, 2013 to November 30, 2013, 67 out of 77 (87%) of Chicago
Community Areas saw a decrease in the rate of violent crime.

• Chicago rates 19th in violent crime rates among large cities as of 2012, at similar levels to Houston, Texas and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

RELATED: Read the study here