Chicago Murder Total Remains High; Would More Police Officers Help?


Chicago murders through September reached the 400 mark for the first time since 2003, says USA Today. That year, 601 murders were documented here; annual totals have been in the 400s since 2009. Criminologist Jack Levin of Northeastern University says it’s troubling that Chicago’s murder count is rising while it falls in other major cities. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have deployed more police to the most deadly areas, sought help from federal agencies, and swept up guns and drugs and the people who possessed them. Police have studied the gangs and identified how they have splintered and demarcated their territories.

This allows police to anticipate violence and retaliation and some drug markets have been shut down because of the effort. McCarthy is enlisting athletes, actors, and musicians for an “anti-no-snitching campaign” an effort to stem a street culture that discourages cooperation with police. Jens Ludwig, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, says money does help. “Simply putting more police on the streets might be one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce crime,” he says. In the past two years, the number of police officers has dropped by 1,000, and the city now has between 11,000 and 12,000, says Patrick Camden of the Fraternal Order of Police. “You need the boots on the ground,” he says. “Unless the community accepts that there is a problem and they work for the solution, nothing is going to change.”

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