There’s been a lot of media coverage of all the shootings and murders in Chicago lately but all too often these claims are made without presenting much in the way of data. So I always base my annual review of crime in Chicago on the numbers from the Chicago crime data portal so that we know what we’re dealing with. First, I updated my time series through the end of June – Chicago murders by month along with a 12 month moving average line in red. It does confirm that the number of murders in the city was on the decline up until the pandemic hit and then things turned around – for the worse – hitting a record high for the 20 years we have good history for. For the 12 month period ending in June there were 783 murders in Chicago vs. 592 the last time I checked. That record is largely driven by the surge that occurred in July 2020.
As I always point out the data is highly seasonal with a surge during the warmer months and a decline during the winter. I guess the bitter cold has some benefits.
Chicago Murder Rate By Neighborhood
Of course the murders are not distributed evenly around Chicago as everyone knows. There are some real hotspots. Since everyone wants to know where all the murders are happening I aggregate the data by community area and calculate a murder rate per 100,000 population since more people create more opportunities for people to kill each other and we need to normalize for that. The one thing I can’t normalize for is the fact that certain areas of the city (e.g. The Loop and Near North Side) have a lot of people passing through every day that don’t actually live in the area. So that creates more opportunity for crime but without an increase in population.
The table below sorts the community areas by their murder rate. Depending on your screen or browser you may have to click on the table to enlarge it. The good news is that 12 areas had no murders, which is roughly the number we’ve seen in previous years. The usual high income areas are at the lower end of the spectrum and the lower income areas are at the higher end.
Unfortunately, my neighborhood – West Town – saw a doubling in their murder rate over the last year. Also, several of last year’s community areas with no murders did have a few this year: Kenwood, Hermosa, Clearing, North Park. But on the flip side several communities dropped down significantly with no murders: Edison Park, Montclare, and West Elsdon had a big improvement.
At the other end of the spectrum West Pullman and Fuller Park jumped way up in the rankings while Washington Park moved down quite a bit.
Map Of Chicago Murders
Of course it’s not enough to simply know which community areas have the highest murder rates. You also need to know where exactly these murders are occurring since these crimes are often concentrated in particular areas. That’s why I’m providing the interactive map below with all of the murders from the 12 month period plotted on top of the community area boundaries. You can click on the balloons and get a few details about each murder. You can also pan, zoom, and share the map. And if you want a bigger version just click on the expansion icon in the upper right corner of the map.
I find the map to be the most useful tool in understanding crime because, as you zoom in, you can get a much better sense of the frequency of these crimes in various parts of the city – block by block if you want to.
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service real estate brokerage that offers home buyer rebates and discount commissions. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market or get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.