Chicago’s per capita homicide rate climbed over the last decade, and the chances of an African American being killed in the city spiked drastically, according to a new study, the Chicago Tribune reports. From 2005 to 2015, the city went from 17.3 homicides per 100,000 residents to a rate of about 18.8, according to the Injury Prevention and Research Center at the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. The report held particularly troubling news for African Americans. The rate for blacks in Chicago jumped from 36.1 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2005 to 46.5 a decade later. Other studies have shown steep drops in the city’s African-American population in recent years, but crime figures remain stubbornly high in many largely black neighborhoods.
The vast majority of homicides across all demographic groups were committed with guns; nearly 90 percent of the homicides in 2015 involved firearms, the study found. People ages 20 to 24 had the highest homicide rate in 2015, with 64.3 killings per 100,000. “Gun violence remains the leading cause of death for young people in Chicago,” said Karen Sheehan, an emergency room physician and medical director of the Injury Prevention and Research Center. Though the report cites sobering figures — which vary from numbers provided by other sources, including the Chicago Police Department — homicides are sharply down from the early 1990s, when the annual figures crested 900 per year. In recent years, the numbers have hovered around 500.