The murder rate for black juveniles in Chicago has declined far more sharply than for Latino youths over the past decade — possibly highlighting racial differences in the behavior of street gang members, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The Chicago Police Department studied the killings of juveniles between 1991 and 2004, finding the murder rate steadily fell for African Americans under age 20. For black youths between ages 17 and 19, the rate was above 150 per 100,000 in 1991 and below 100 per 100,000 in 2004.
In the Hispanic community there were no significant changes in the murder rate for children under age 16. Still, the overall murder rate for African-Americans juveniles in 2004 remained higher than for Latinos. The declining murder rate for African-American juveniles tracks a 51 percent citywide decline in murders between 1991 and 2004. “This shows the predictions in the late 1980s that juvenile crime would escalate out of control have not been borne out,” said Arthur Lurigio, a Loyola University criminologist. Gary Slutkin of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention said Chicago’s murder rates for black and Hispanic youths are still “outrageous” in view of Chicago’s average rate of 15 killings per 100,000 in 2004 — or the national average of about five killings per 100,000.