Friday, December 28, 2012

Chicago reaches 500 homicides with fatal shooting

Mass killings like the horrific one in Newtown, CT get the most media attention, naturally. But day after day in our largest cities one or more people is murdered. Across the United States, every year, thousands of Americans are murdered.

In 2008, 16,799 were victims of intentional homicide. In 2010, 18,972. In 2011, 18,519. About 2 out of 3 were killed with guns.

The total murder rate in the U.S. has been on the decline for most of the last 21 years. Our homicide rate peaked at 9.8 per 100,000 residents in 1991. It fell steadily to 4.8 per 100,000 in 2010.

By comparison, the homicide rate in Canada is 1.9 per 100,000. In Norway, it is 0.5.

About the only time one of these "ordinary" killings in the United States gets widespread attention is when a milestone is reached. Chicago merits attention today because Nathaniel Jackson just became the 500th victim in Chicago in 2012. Congratulations, Nate!

On Thursday, officials with the Chicago Police Department said the city was one homicide away from the 500 mark. Hours later, a 40-year-old man was fatally shot in the Austin neighborhood on the city's West Side. Police say Nathaniel Jackson was found on the sidewalk outside a convenience store with a gunshot wound to the head late Thursday.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office says Jackson was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital early Friday. Jackson's death remains under investigation. No arrests have been made.

In reality, the chances any American will be murdered varies greatly depending on where he lives, what his family circumstances are, what his income and job are, and so on. The vast majority of killers and murder victims are poor, inner-city non-white males from age 15 to 25.

Chicago has a lot of murders each year in large part because it has a lot of poor, inner-city non-white males from age 15 to 25. Yet Chicago is a safe-haven when compared with New Orleans and Detroit.

Here is how our major cities compare in 2012 when it comes to murder rates per 100,000 population:

New York City 2.72
Los Angeles 4.19
Houston 5.0
Dallas 6.43
Washington, D.C. 8.15
Chicago 10.83
Kansas City 12.2
Philadelphia: 12.38
Oakland: 15.89
St. Louis: 18.18
Baltimore: 18.22
Stockton 23.3

Detroit: 27.34
New Orleans: 32.65

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