Homicides are up in the city of Chicago, continuing a trend that began over the last few months of 2011.
According to a Chicago Tribune telephone interview with police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, for the first 29 days of January, homicides rose to 40, up from 26 for the same period a year earlier, exceeding a 50 percent jump.
The increase follows a rise in homicides over the last three months of 2011 — the result of what McCarthy called a bloody 17-day stretch from October to November. Homicides in the state were the only crime category up in the first month of 2012, with overall crime down by 20 percent.
University of Chicago professor Jens Ludwig cautioned against reading too much into the statistics over such a short period of time, but in an unrelated news conference on Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel cited Chicago’s recurrent gang problem as the source for concern over the homicide rate.
“Chicago has a problem unlike any other major city given the size of our gangs,” the mayor said. “Nobody can be content, but we are making progress in the right things that are necessary to bring a level of safety to our streets.”
According to a newly released study by the Violence Policy Center, Missouri, Michigan and Pennsylvania had the highest Black homicide victimization rate, or were the areas where Blacks were murdered at a higher rate than other states.
Illinois did not make the policy center’s top-ten list.
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