People are getting shot in Chicago in alarmingly high numbers: 3,500 as of mid-October, 1,000 more than at the same time last year. Almost 600 victims died. Chicago has become synonymous with gun violence, attracting attention from the press, politicians, and advocates on both sides of the gun debate, reports The Trace. Some look at the level of gun violence and city and state gun laws and see proof that tighter firearms restrictions don’t work. in Wednesday’s presidential debate, Republican Donald Trump said Chicago had “more gun violence than any other city.”
In raw numbers, Trump’s statement is true. When it comes to the sheer total of violent crime victims, no other city comes close to Chicago. Yet on a per capita basis, its shooting epidemic is not nearly so bad as the violence in many other large cities. “With the rates, you get the true scope of the problem in the way it impacts people’s lives,” said Fordham law Prof. John Pfaff. “People don’t care about the absolute numbers, they care about their risk, and the rates tell that risk.” Chicago’s homicide rate over the last five years was 16.4 per 100,000 residents. In St. Louis and New Orleans, the homicide rate from 2010 to 2015 was three times as high, on average. Other cities with higher murder rates than Chicago: Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Memphis, Buffalo, Washington, D.C., Stockton, Ca., Miami, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. Chicago’s rate of non-fatal shootings was 12th highest of 68 cities in 2015, with a rate of 88.9 per 100,000, according to the Major Cities Chiefs Association.