|Notice any trends that might explain rise of violence in Chicago?|
(Source:Police and Community in Chicago: A Tale of Three Cities)
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.
|Yes Virginia, there is a racial correlation to the rise in murder rate in Chicago and the rise of the black population (source: Chicago Crime Scenes Project)|
It’s true that this year’s Chicago murder rate is unacceptable. But do you know what else is unacceptable? The murder rate that Chicagoans find acceptable.
Throughout the 2000s, we thought we were on a holiday from homicide. In 2004, Chicago experienced 448 murders, for a homicide rate of 15.65 per 100,000 residents. That was less than half the murder rate in 1990, at the height of the Crack Wars.
But it was still higher than the murder rate in 1929, the year of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, when Al Capone was the city’s crime kingpin and the streets were awash in blood as gangsters battled over illegal liquor sales during Prohibition. The 1920s saddled Chicago with international image for murder and violence that we still haven’t shaken off. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was so shocking it led the nation to reconsider whether Prohibition was worth the gang warfare it caused.
Here’s a list of historic murder rates, courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Chicago.
|Use this graph from the book Second City Ghetto to understand reason behind rise in murders in Chicago... Notice the drop after the repealing of Prohibition between 1930 and 1940.|
Here is a chart of murder rates from 1870 to 2008.
We know that federal government’s decision to ban the sale of alcohol created the nightmarish conditions of the Capone Era in Chicagoland; but with the repealing of Prohibition, crime dropped. Yet the historic murder rate began to climb as the percentage of the white population in Chicago began to drop and the percentage of black people in the Second City began to rise… dramatically.
1940: 8.1 percent black out of 3.3 million1950: 13.5 percent black out of 3.6 million1960: 22.8 percent black out of 3.5 million1970: 32.7 percent black out of 3.3 million1980: 39.2 percent black out of 3.0 million
|The Reality of Black Crime in Chicago|
(Source: Police and Community in Chicago: A Tale of Three Cities)
Figure 2.4 distinguishes between two general categories of crime: personal offenses and property crime. In every case, residents of largely African American areas came off worse, but the gap varied by type of crime. Figure 2.4 examines three types of violent crime: robbery, rape, and murder. Robbery rates are scaled at the left side of the figure, while rapes and murders – which are much less frequent – are scaled to the right. The immense concentration of the city’s violent crime in African American areas is apparent. Robbery and rapes rates there were almost six times as high as in predominately white areas, and almost three times as high as in Latino and racially diverse areas.
In 1991, 64 percent of all reported robberies and 66 percent of all rapes were committed in the city’s 121 predominantly African-American beats, which were home to 35 percent of the population. Murder, which was much less frequent, was just as concentrated; two-thirds of all of the city’s homicides took place in African American beats. The murder rate there was ten times that in white areas, and more than twice the rate in Latino and racially diverse beats.
Class made a great deal of difference in the risks facing the city’s African Americans. Homicide and robbery rates were more than twice as high in poor black areas as they were in better-off African American neighborhoods, but they were still the second most victimized cluster of beats. Homicide rates were 27 times higher in poor black beats than they were in white homeowner areas, where the murder rate was only three per one hundred thousand residents. (p. 36-37)
|The rise in black population and fall of white population|
(Source: Chicago Divided)