Chicagoans suffer decade-high robberies, record-low arrest rate

Chicagoans suffer decade-high robberies, record-low arrest rate

Chicago saw more robbery victims in 2023 than in any year of the past decade, reporting 1 victim for every 250 residents. While crimes surged, robbery arrests hit a record low. Fewer cops is not helping.

More Chicagoans were robbed in 2023 than in any year in the past decade, a jump of 29% in a year.

Robberies had been on a long decline, but in recent years have increased rapidly. That makes another trend especially troubling: the robbery arrest rate fell to a 23-year low of just over 5%.

Those 11,060 robberies involved 11,933 victims last year, with some crimes having several victims. That’s more than 1 robbery victim for every 250 people living in the nation’s third-largest city.

Robberies also became more violent. There was a 14% jump in aggravated robberies, felonies involving the use or threat of a weapon.

Robberies with a handgun increased by half. Robberies committed with other firearms more than doubled. Only cases of vehicular hijackings and unarmed robbery showed declines.

Among Chicago’s 77 communities, the Austin neighborhood on the West Side reported the most robbery victims last year at 793 – more than 8 robbery victims for every 1,000 residents. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson lives there.

City data shows the most common, known victims of robbery in Chicago were male white Hispanic residents between the ages of 20 and 29.

White Hispanic men were 28% of all robbery victims in the city last year with Black male residents reporting the second-most victimizations at 22%.

The number of white Hispanic residents being robbed last year eclipsed Black residents for the first time in over two decades.

White Hispanic residents make up just 12% of the city’s population while 29% of Chicagoans are Black, according to census estimates.

As robbery victims in Chicago rose to a decade-high in 2023, the police arrest rate for robberies fell to its lowest level since the city started recording the data in 2001.

Perpetrators were arrested in just 5.1% of robberies. Officers made 1,047 fewer robbery arrests last year than when sworn police ranks were at their peak in 2007.

According to a Lincoln Poll in January, 2 of every 3 voters somewhat or strongly disapproved of Johnson’s handling of crime.

Chicagoans shouldn’t be forced to choose between having fewer police officers on the streets and reducing social services to support the city’s at-risk residents. Instead, city leaders should balance short- and long-term strategies to target the violence plaguing Chicago’s most vulnerable communities.

Addressing violent crime starts with reducing the city’s police officer shortage, putting more officers on local beats and ensuring witness protection so police are able to obtain vital information needed to identify and pursue criminals. Longer-term solutions cannot work unless today’s crimes are addressed and Chicagoans stop living in fear.

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