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Crime issue roundup

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

* New York Times

Gun deaths reached the highest number ever recorded in the United States in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, as gun-related homicides surged by 35 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday.

“This is a historic increase, with the rate having reached the highest level in over 25 years,” Dr. Debra E. Houry, acting principal deputy director of the C.D.C. and the director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said at a news briefing.

More than 45,000 Americans died in gun-related incidents as the pandemic spread in the United States, the highest number on record, federal data show. The gun homicide rate was the highest reported since 1994.

That represents the largest one-year increase in gun homicides in modern history, according to Ari Davis, a policy adviser at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, which recently released its own analysis of C.D.C. data.

* From the CDC

From 2019 to 2020, the overall firearm homicide rate increased 34.6%, from 4.6 to 6.1 per 100,000 persons. The largest increases occurred among non-Hispanic Black or African American males aged 10–44 years and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) males aged 25–44 years. Rates of firearm homicide were lowest and increased least at the lowest poverty level and were higher and showed larger increases at higher poverty levels. […]

The findings of this study underscore the importance of comprehensive strategies that can stop violence now and in the future by addressing factors that contribute to homicide and suicide, including the underlying economic, physical, and social inequities that drive racial and ethnic disparities in multiple health outcomes. For example, policies that enhance economic and household stability (e.g., temporary assistance to families, child care subsidies, tax credits, housing assistance, and livable wages) can reduce family poverty and other risk factors for homicide and suicide (e.g., family stress and substance use) (3,4,12–14). Communities can also implement locally driven approaches that address physical and social environments that contribute to violence and other inequities, with the potential for immediate benefits. Approaches such as enhancing and maintaining green spaces and the remediation of vacant buildings can reduce opportunities for violence and promote positive social interactions. These approaches have been associated with significant reductions in risk for firearm violence (13,15). For example, a study in a major U.S. city found that restoration of vacant lots (e.g., cleaning up debris or adding vegetation) was associated with significant reductions in firearm assaults, with the largest reduction (29%) in areas with the highest poverty

* Sun-Times

Following Chicago’s deadliest year in decades, the number of people shot and killed in the 15 communities targeted in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s signature anti-violence plan has fallen by 26% ahead of the historically brutal summer months — a pivotal stretch in what she has described as a “make-or-break year” for lowering crime. […]

Through May 8, the targeted communities on the South and West sides saw a 19% decline in homicides and a 28% drop in non-fatal shooting victims from the same time last year, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis. Across the city, those numbers have fallen 7% and 17% respectively, accounting for a 15% overall drop over the same period. […]

But despite trending in the right direction, the toll is still far higher than in both 2019 and 2020. At least 901 people have been wounded by gun violence through May 8, 173 of them fatally. Seventeen more people have been killed by other means. […]

A more simple explanation for the downtrend, according to Wesley Skogan, a Northwestern University professor who specializes in crime issues: The weather has been unseasonably crummy this year.

The warming weather produced some ominous results this week…


* Meanwhile, here’s Ashna Arora and Jens Ludwig writing in the Tribune

To figure out what’s going on with [electronic monitoring], we obtained data from the Cook County sheriff’s office, which as best we can tell is responsible for about 60% of all monitoring cases in the county. We haven’t been able to get data on the rest of the county’s EM cases, run by the chief judge’s office. Using the data we have, we focus mostly on what’s happening in Chicago to start to get a better picture of EM. […]

Nonetheless, as best we can tell from the available data, crimes committed by people on EM don’t seem to be driving the current wave of gun violence.

First, the timing doesn’t seem to be quite right. While the EM population rose in 2020, the jail population was largely flat during this period. Taken at face value, this would seem to imply that the increase in EM cases is coming from people who would have otherwise been released on bond, not people who would have gone to jail.

Another way to see that the timing is not right is to look at the likelihood someone arrested in a gun violence case goes to jail. We can’t measure that perfectly, but we can look at the ratio of people jailed on homicide or nonfatal shooting charges to the number of people arrested for those crimes. If EM were driving gun violence, we might have expected a big drop around 2020 in the chances those arrested in shootings wound up in jail, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

Finally, the total numbers just don’t seem to add up. In 2020, there were 274 more homicide victims in Chicago than in 2019. By comparison, the number of people arrested for a homicide they allegedly committed while out on EM increased from 2019 to 2020 by only four — from four to eight arrests. Even accounting for Chicago’s historically (and notoriously) low rate of making arrests in homicide cases, the so-called clearance rate, it seems very unlikely people on EM are driving our massive rise in gun violence.

Looking at data for nonfatal shootings tells a similar story.

* WMBD

Among pieces of legislation Pritzker signed at the Peoria Civic Center Tuesday, was one crafted by State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth allowing for mental health responders on police calls related to victims of violent crime. […]

Money for hiring and retaining police officers, funding to help witness protection programs and making it safer for victims to report crimes, and paying for the funerals of children who die due to violent crime were the other initiatives signed into law by Pritzker. […]

[Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria] says more than 1,200 police calls last year alone were related to a person who was feeling suicidal, or who had committed suicide, among other statistics on calls.

* Tribune

The bill also requires homicide detectives to undergo “trauma-involved training,” according to the Pritzker administration and created a grant program to create tip hotlines and various victim and witness resources.

The bill also reauthorizes a witness protection program with $30 million set aside for it in the upcoming state budget. The program had been neglected for years by state legislators and past governors who failed to earmark funding for it. […]

He also signed a bill to aid in the recruitment and retention of police officers across the state.

“There are those that would like for us to believe that you have to choose between police or community, and I believe that is a failed notion,” said state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria, whose stepson was fatally shot in 2014. “Police are community. The community needs the police, and it is our jobs as leaders to identify the paths to create a better opportunity for community and police to work together better, to work together stronger.”

* SJ-R

Adequately funding police departments is the intention of another bill signed by Pritzker on Tuesday. HB 3863, which was approved unanimously by both chambers of the legislature, creates the Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Fund. The fund will be used to award grants to local governments, colleges and nonprofit entities “for the purpose of hiring and retraining law enforcement officers,” according to the new law.

* More…

* Billionaire Ken Griffin laments Chicago violence, donates $25M to train police leaders: Griffin is contributing $25 million to launch two academies at the University of Chicago that will provide six months of training to police leaders here and across the country and to people who run violence interruption groups. “It is time to bring the data-driven revolution to public safety,” said Griffin, the founder of the Citadel investment company, during a ceremony announcing the two Community Safety Leadership Academies.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Real - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:03 pm:

    Pestilence aka pandemics
    Crime
    Wars
    Famine
    Weather events
    Pentagon UFO report

    Convergence of signs

    All written in the good book.


  2. - Joday Wales - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    Maybe JB LORI and Biden will discuss today


  3. - G'Kar - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:17 pm:

    Well, it looks like Griffin finally spent some money on something worthwhile.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:18 pm:

    - Joday Wales -

    Lori is out of state.


  5. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:18 pm:

    The other day I noticed the dinner conversations between my wife and I are more talking about shootings near the neighborhood here in Mayfair/Albany Park. Obviously it’s not good but really seems to be too often now.


  6. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:19 pm:

    Seems Ken Griffin is always stepping up to make the city and state better places to live in.
    While his political pick for Governor may offend some folks, Ken Griffin has done a lot of remarkable things in Illinois.


  7. - The Young Gov - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:21 pm:

    Re: Griffin’s money:
    On the hand, I do believe that building the capacity of CPD leadership to lead and implement effective policing (and the consent decree reforms) is key to reducing gun violence. On the other hand, how much money was spent to defeat the progressive income tax which would have helped to build our own (non-Griffin funded) ways of executing these basic functions are government?


  8. - Amalia - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:21 pm:

    Arora and Ludwig start with a false premise….that the claim is that the crime wave is being driven by electronic monitoring. they miss the point that a victim whose offender is on electronic monitoring has been victimized. that is the point of the anger towards EM. it is just one of the factors contributing to the crime wave. many people have been shot or killed by those on EM. you cannot be seemingly dismissive of that.


  9. - Annonin' - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:25 pm:

    Does this mean “never mind” when he p%(%*( all over JB for the violence? wonder who are “police leaders”

    New Gordon-Booth law seems to have a better focus. But it cannot hurt to go several directions.

    Many of us know someone who most likely would have still been alive if some of this was available in recent years. Cops are trained to be cops so it is really asking a lot for them to be social workers, parents, baby sitters, etc.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:26 pm:

    === Griffin has done a lot of remarkable things in Illinois.===

    Griffin helped and supported Bruce Rauner, a governor who refused Illinois a budget for a whole General Assembly (two years) while pushing Right to Work as the reason to hurt Illinois.

    If you are enamored with Griffin’s money, he invests in company(ies) that manufacture 1 in 4 guns found on the street of Chicago.

    To the post,

    As a city issue, as a local issue, crime continues to be large, and the narrative baked in, earned, is that crime is far different than “before”, even if statistics to specific areas might not mirror the rhetoric.

    What is good is investing in local programs and leadership to combat the crime issue, if that’s enough in the political lens come 2023 for Lightfoot, tough to say, but can’t let any “status quo” be the seeming status of combating crime.


  11. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:34 pm:

    Good to see gun death numbers go down this year. Kudos to Lightfoot, the police, anyone helping bring those numbers down. Other reports have Chicago homicides and shootings lower this year than last year.

    Kudos also to the state politicians who just enacted big public safety legislation.


  12. - Homebody - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:37 pm:

    While policing improvements are absolutely necessary (CPD in particular is notoriously ineffective at closing cases), improving/expanding policing doesn’t prevent crime.

    Long term solutions need to address the underlying causes.


  13. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:47 pm:

    In 2019 619 officers left CPD and 444 joined. In 2021 900 left and 51 joined. The city also had to drop requirements in order to just hire those 51.

    If Lori doesn’t reverse this trend and find a way to attract more high quality cops the city is in for some bigger problems.


  14. - Been There - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:49 pm:

    ===== For example, policies that enhance economic and household stability (e.g., temporary assistance to families, child care subsidies, tax credits, housing assistance, and livable wages) can reduce family poverty and other risk factors for homicide and suicide (e.g., family stress and substance use) (3,4,12–14).=====

    While I agree 100% with everyone one of these proposals they is they won’t decrease crime overnight. More like 3,4 or even 10 For example, policies that enhance economic and household stability (e.g., temporary assistance to families, child care subsidies, tax credits, housing assistance, and livable wages) can reduce family poverty and other risk factors for homicide and suicide (e.g., family stress and substance use) (3,4,12–14). ====

    While I agree 100% with everyone of these programs most won’t help out for 3,4 or even 10 years down the road. The problem for the dems is the election is in November. They need some proposals for now.
    But I will also give kudo’s to the CDC in actually proposing solutions and not just throwing blame.


  15. - Benjamin - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:53 pm:

    ==many people have been shot or killed by those on EM==

    [citation needed]


  16. - JS Mill - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 12:57 pm:

    =Gun deaths reached the highest number ever recorded in the United States in 2020, the first year of the pandemic=

    So national crime data. Gun deaths got historically worse during the last year of the Trump presidency and a Republican controlled Senate.

    I know this is an Illinois centered blog, but the GOP narrative has been to blame crime on the democrats and the false “defund the police” narrative. It seems that the democrats have been the only ones to get anything done on safety and reform. Not the republicans.


  17. - SWIL_Voter - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 1:15 pm:

    “but the GOP narrative has been to blame crime on the democrats and the false “defund the police” narrative.”

    The same thing can be said about budget management for basically the last 40 years. Republicans drive up the deficits and debts more than Dems, yet the narrative has the Dems as the profligate spenders. Every aspect of mainstream politics is so detached from reality it’s impossible to engage with. So many of the comments right here on this blog reflect that. How many times a day does somebody say “that may not be the reality, but it’s the perception that counts.” The people with the money create the perceptions, I have no purchase with them, why even bother rolling around in the mud on this stuff?


  18. - City Zen - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 1:30 pm:

    ==It seems that the democrats have been the only ones to get anything done on safety and reform.==

    And yet 2021 had more gun deaths than 2020.

    https://www.thetrace.org/2021/12/gun-violence-data-stats-2021/


  19. - SWIL_Voter - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 1:34 pm:

    “And yet 2021 had more gun deaths than 2020.”

    Goo goo ga ga, why didn’t they wave their magic crime wand on day one and make all the crime disappear overnight?


  20. - JS Mill - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 1:40 pm:

    =And yet 2021 had more gun deaths than 2020.=

    Most of those reforms are just now set to take effect. Like the ones the governor signed YESTERDAY.

    Thanks for the link, very interesting organization I was not aware of.

    By the way, which party obstructs gun control at every turn on behalf of the NRA?


  21. - Google Is Your Friend - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 1:46 pm:

    You’ll never guess what David Brown said today…


  22. - Da big bad wolf - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 1:57 pm:

    Re the Trace article: look at the chart about gun purchases, 21 million gun purchases up from 13 million gun purchases the year before. Since the Trace article is counting accidents etc., it would make sense that there would be more gun accidents since there are more guns.
    I was also surprised to see that suicides were almost at 70% of all gun deaths. For years it was steady at 60%. Is this because there is a different way to count gun death suicides or are more people committing suicide? Also are “accidents” attempted suicides?


  23. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 2:12 pm:

    As we all sit comfortably commenting on our computers or smart phones, I honestly wonder how many gun deaths could be prevented by providing free air conditioners or working air conditioning in areas where deaths by violence are highest.

    Let’s face it. We’ve thrown money at more cops, better cops, gun buybacks, and government studies, and none of it has worked. None of it.

    Unrelieved heat causes short tempers. It’s a fact. Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.


  24. - Da big bad wolf - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 2:31 pm:

    === many people have been shot or killed by those on EM. you cannot be seemingly dismissive of that.===

    The number is eight. Up from four.


  25. - Da big bad wolf - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 2:33 pm:

    === As we all sit comfortably commenting on our computers or smart phones, I honestly wonder how many gun deaths could be prevented by providing free air conditioners or working air conditioning in areas where deaths by violence are highest.===

    It might keep people inside, which might not be a bad thing.


  26. - supplied_demand - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 2:35 pm:

    ==In 2019 619 officers left CPD and 444 joined. In 2021 900 left and 51 joined. The city also had to drop requirements in order to just hire those 51. ==

    And yet, the shootings have fallen this year. Maybe the police don’t have as much impact on it as you assumed?


  27. - Ellen Noyce - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 3:57 pm:

    I can’t stop wondering about the gender difference in violent crime and firearm related deaths, even suicides. I don’t understand why they’re not framed as men’s issues; if the gender disparity were reversed, we’d be talking about it. We’d be asking why women kill, what makes women unstable, worrisome, threatening, etc.
    It might not be useful to consider this big looming pattern in the data, but it’s remarkable that it’s been so easy to ignore.


  28. - Telly - Wednesday, May 11, 22 @ 6:06 pm:

    == We haven’t been able to get data on the rest of the county’s EM cases, run by the chief judge’s office. ==

    It seems like I’ve read multiple story about EM in Cook County that all make reference to Judge Evans not sharing basic info. He has thousands of employees and a huge budget but is completely unaccountable.


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