Chicago’s Murder Rate Spirals Out of Control

We turn our attention once again to the city of Chicago, where, as of this writing, 2,858 people have been shot and 487 have been killed so far this year (both numbers will surely be higher by the time you read this). The website tabulates these and other figures related to crime in Chicago, and it reports that on average someone is shot every two hours and murdered every twelve. But these averages are for the year overall; we are now in the prime shooting season of summer, and the averages for August approximate to someone being shot every ninety minutes and murdered every eight hours. August, says the Chicago Tribune, has been the most violent month in Chicago in 20 years.

Despite these grim numbers, there persists among many the notion that it is the city’s police officers who bear the greatest share of blame for all that ails Chicago. Propagating this myth most recently is this same Chicago Tribune, which on Friday published a story about the 435 police shootings that occurred in Chicago between 2010 and 2015.

The story begins by noting that over the six years examined, a Chicago police officer fired at someone every five days, killing 92 people and wounding 170. “While a few of those incidents captured widespread attention,” says the Tribune, “they occurred with such brutal regularity — and with scant information provided by police — that most have escaped public scrutiny.”

Given the statistics cited in the opening paragraph above, it would seem it is not the police who are shooting people with “such brutal regularity.” Indeed, many of the Tribune’s readers, aware that they live in a city where someone is shot every hour and a half and murdered every eight, might not be all that disturbed – and might even welcome it – when the police manage to shoot at some evil-doer every five days.