Chicago is on track to have one of its lowest crime rates in decades, but some neighborhoods on the South and West sides seem stuck in time with persistently high violence rates — an inequality that demands attention, says a new Yale University study reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. Prof. Andrew Papachristos found a greater proportion of murders in the city involve street gang members since the mid-1990s. Murders among rival gangs are declining, but killings among factions within the same gang are on the rise.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel pointed to the positive news in the report, saying the drop in crime isn't a one-year blip, but something historic. “This is not just 2013 against 2012,” he said. “This is 2013 against the last 40 years. That is what is significant.” Emanuel took a beating in the media last year when the city's murder total spiked. Now, though, crime is falling sharply in the city. So far this year, murder is down 19 percent compared with 2012 and 5 percent compared with 2011. And overall crime is down 23 percent over the past two years. The Yale study notes that “Chicago is by no means the 'murder capital' or the 'crime capital' of the U.S.” Chicago ranked 19th among big cities' violent crime rates in 2012. Detroit was No. 1.