Urban Dynamics Blog

Chicagoland: Homicide rate increases as 2017 progresses

Unfortunately, the homicide rate is increasing in Chicago. That is, the number of homicides per month are increasing as 2017 progresses.

The year started off with 145 homicides in the 1st quarter – January, February, and March –  compared to the 151 homicides through the 1st quarter in 2016. However, things started to pick up at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. April saw seven more homicides than April of 2016. There were 41 homicides in April of 2016 compared to 48 homicides this year.

May saw a slight decrease. That was certainly good news. But then June happened.

Data Source: Chicago Tribune

June saw more homicides this year than last year – 84 to 73 – about a 15 percent increase. And now July is following suit. July of 2017 has seen more homicides than July of 2016.

For those keeping count, 409 families have lost a loved one this year compared to the 403 families at this time last year. 400 families?

August starts tomorrow. And that’s terrible news for those who live in the economically depressed parts of the city (my readers recognize these parts of Chicago as subsystems).

Last year, there were 96 homicides in August of 2016. If this homicide rate remains constant, the windy city will see 500 plus homicides by the end of the 8th month of 2017.

It is certainly possible this thing could slow down (I’m rolling my eyes). Cities are stochastic systems; that is, they are probabilistic. But it’s probably not likely that the homicide rate will slow down enough to see fewer people die this year. If the last two months are any indication of what might be possible, then it’s very likely local policy makers could be faced with answering the obvious question from journalists and others in the press, “Why were there more than 800 homicides this year?” The response will be a clutter of words and sentences in ambiguous language – doublespeak.

To be frank, Chicago hasn’t experienced such a ridiculous and appalling statistic since the mid 1990’s. Chicago saw 828 homicides in 1995; and Chicago hasn’t seen fewer than 400 homicides in decades. Wait. What?

Data Source: Chicago Tribune

Anyway, will 2017 break the 95′ threshold of 828 homicides? One would certainly hope not. It would be great if the number went down to zero starting tomorrow. But that isn’t realistic for a plethora of reasons. The challenges of the depressed economic systems, where most of these homicides happen, are not being met with judicious economic solutions.

The necessary economic tools do exist. But it might be the case that local policy makers in Chicago don’t have accessibility to the necessary economic tools: labor economics, game theory, behavioral economics, systems economics, etc… Or perhaps it’s something else entirely (I doubt it – my money is on the economic tool-kit).

Until then, enjoy the featured image for this article. It is a beautiful picture of a Chicago train surrounded by the city’s stunning architecture. Good stuff.


Matt Johnson is a blogger/writer for The Systems Scientist and the Urban Dynamics blog. He has also contributed to the Iowa State Daily and Our Black News.

Matt has a Bachelor of Science in Systems Science, with focuses in applied mathematics and economic systems, from Iowa State University. He is also a professional member of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the International Society for the Systems Sciences and a scholarly member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, which is an International Honors Society for Economics. 

You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Facebook

You can also follow The Systems Scientist on Twitter or Facebook.


Photo Credit: Pixabay





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