Chicago Police Target “Hot People” In Effort to Stem Murder Increase


Chicago police are arresting some suspects for misdemeanors if they appear on the “heat list,” says the Chicago Sun-Times. It’s part of a new anti-violence strategy by Superintendent Garry McCarthy to arrest fugitives who have been linked to people who have been killed. The effort springs from a Yale University sociologist's finding that these “hot people” are far more likely, as a result of those social ties, to become a victim or perpetrator of deadly violence themselves. “They were stopped with a murder victim, or arrested with a murder victim — or victims — in the past two years,” said Joseph Salemme, commander of the fugitive unit. “Or they were two degrees of separation away from the victim or victims.”

Citywide, Chicago's murder rate is 14.5 per 100,000. It jumps to 44.5 per 100,000 in the Harrison District on the West Side, one of the city's highest-crime districts. For “hot people” in that district, the murder rate jumps to 1,865 per 100,000, according to the police department. Each person on the heat list is given a number — a heat index — rating how likely it's deemed that person will be involved in a murder. Starting this past summer, McCarthy doubled the number of officers in the fugitive unit — in part to focus on these hot people. So far, about 165 people with arrest warrants across the city have been placed on the heat list.

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