Chicago homicides are higher than city admits

Chicago homicide rates are at an all-time high

New reports on the number of homicides in Chicago in 2016 show a higher count than previously reported by the city last week. The report shows that there have been 50 more homicides the past year than publicly noted.

The Chicago police department reported 762 murders in 2016, while the city reported a 15% higher number, 812, a number given by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

The inconsistency was caused by the difference in how the two define the deaths. The county counts “homicides” while the police count “murders.”  A murder is “a violent act subject to prosecution,“while homicides, per the medical examiner, occur “when the death of a person comes at the hand of another person. This doesn’t imply that all homicides are murders that would be subject to criminal prosecution.” In addition, the police count omits intentional deaths if they are deemed justifiable, such as police killings of citizens in self defense.

According to the county’s number, homicides rose by 54% from 2015 to 2016 with the count being at 528 in 2015.

It turns out that gun violence was deemed the leading cause of death for homicide victims. Seven-hundred and twenty-five suffered at least one gunshot wound.

Of the county-wide total of 915, 710 of the homicides were African-Americans, and 90% were men.

Recently released FBI data shows that other cities also experienced increases in homicide rates. In cities with over 1 million inhabitants, murder rates rose by 21.6% in the first half of 2016, compared to the first half of 2015. The comes after cities had been seeing falling murder rates for decades.

The FBI define “murder and non-negligent manslaughter as the willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another.

The differences between the county’s number and Chicago’s police department number may also have been attributed to jurisdictional issues or to those whose deaths in 2016 were due to assaults in 2015.