Report: Chicago violent crime spikes 11%, arrests in just 11%

Report: Chicago violent crime spikes 11%, arrests in just 11%

Even though the number of violent crimes in Chicago grew to its highest level in a decade last year, the arrest rate dropped. Robbery and vehicle theft both rose by over 30% last year.

Homicides dropped 14% in 2023 from the year before, totaling 625 dead, but that’s still nearly 50% more homicides than a decade ago.

Of those killed, 111 were age 19 and under – 18% of all homicide victims in Chicago. Homicide reduction remains an essential component of Chicago’s efforts on public safety.

Overall, violent crime in the city jumped 11.5%, including concerning spikes in the number of robberies and assaults.

Theft and battery continue to be the most common types of crimes. Vehicle theft has sharply increased during the past two years, more than doubling from 2021 levels. Starting in 2022, the annual number of vehicle thefts surpassed the number of assaults for the first time since open access to crime data began in 2001. This trend has continued into 2023, with 30,501 vehicle thefts and carjackings.

While the number of monthly carjackings declined at the end of the year, the number of carjackings in 2023 is still double pre-pandemic levels.

The impact of crime on the city’s well-being isn’t just measured in the total number of crimes – the arrest rate also matters. This is a signal to residents that those in charge of public safety are in a position to do something about crime.

Even though the number of violent crimes grew to its highest level in a decade last year, the arrest rate dropped. There has been an 18% increase in violent crimes and a 33% decline in the number of arrests since 2013. This means the share of violent crimes resulting in an arrest has nearly halved, dropping from 19% in 2013, to nearly 11% in 2023.

Total crime in the city is highest on the south and west sides. Fuller Park and Garfield Park were home to the highest rates of violent crime in 2023.

Data is important in understanding the scope of the problem in the city. So is public sentiment. Without fail, Chicagoans continue to list public safety as their overall top priority.

And as crime continues to tick up and people feel less safe, most prefer to add more police officers to the force.

At the end of December, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s budget, which the City Council approved, eliminated 833 street-cop vacancies.

City leaders continue to claw back policing resources. The Chicago Board of Education recently voted to remove police officers from schools, a change that will take effect at the start of the 2024-2025 school year. This vote happened shortly after a teenager was shot and killed in broad daylight outside of Nicholas Senn High School on the North Side. Data shows more than 100 kids have been shot near Chicago schools in the past five years, according to analysis by ABC 7.

All crime is bad. Violent crime is worse, and failing to address it will eat away at Chicagoans and the city they love until public officials take steps to meaningfully address the problem. That includes making sure the city has enough police officers on the beat, the courts are able to process cases efficiently, and prosecutors and judges are able to do their jobs effectively.

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