Jan 2017

Gun Violence in Chicago, 2016

Jens Ludwig Max Kapustin Kim Smith Roseanna Ander Aaron Chalfin

The Crime Lab studied the spike in murders in 2016.

A total of 764 people were murdered in Chicago in 2016. They were sons, brothers, and fathers; sisters, daughters, and mothers; they were, as the title of The New York Times reporter Fox Butterfield’s book on urban violence noted, All God’s Children. This report represents a first step towards understanding what happened with the goal of helping the city of Chicago prevent another year like the one that just passed.

We draw on data obtained from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and other sources to provide a more complete picture of the change in our city’s crime problem in 2016. Our analysis highlights a number of key facts that are important for understanding what happened, but also raises some new puzzles as well. While this report focuses on establishing basic facts and avoids delving too deeply into solutions, we will continue to partner with policymakers, the civic community, and local nonprofits to identify promising approaches for moving forward. We plan to share our thinking about how to reduce violence in Chicago, informed by the best available data and research, in other venues in the future.

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