Chicago’s homicide total in the first quarter of 2003 is slightly higher than last year, but violent crime overall is down across the city and in traditionally dangerous neighborhoods, says the Chicago Tribune.
Citywide violent crime–including homicide, criminal sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault and battery–declined 6.5 percent in the first three months of 2003. As of Friday there had been 197 killings in Chicago, 10 more than the same 2002 period. Most slaying victims are members of racial or ethnic minorities; only 5 percent were white.
In recent weeks public attention has been focused on violent crime, mainly because of a rash of homicides around Easter and because of two tragic shootings that killed one child and seriously injured another. But the statistics show that most homicide victims are involved in criminal activity; a large number of homicides are the result of disputes between rival gang members or drug dealers. “If you’re not engaging in gangs, guns and drugs, you’re generally pretty safe,” police spokesman David Bayless said.