Dec 21, 2021 - News

Chicago violent crime arrests way down in 2021

Percentage change in violent crimes arrests per capita in Chicago community areas, 2019 to 2021
Data: City of Chicago Data Portal; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Yesterday, we wrote about how most neighborhoods are seeing an increase in 2021 violent crime stats by examining all reported violent crime incidents.

  • But if you focus on arrests, the data tells a different story.

Why it matters: Violent crime arrests have dropped 39% in 2021 compared to 2019, which means violent crimes are going up but arrests are going down. Why?

What they're saying: "Arrests are down likely for a variety of reasons, some related to the pandemic and public health protocols, as well as the decrease in community trust in police as well as a general pulling back of proactive policing," Roseanna Ander, executive director of the UChicago Crime Lab, tells Axios.

  • "Keeping you safe is my priority," said Mayor Lightfoot, per the Tribune. "Not one of, but the first and primary priority."
  • "CPD detectives have cleared 378 homicides in 2021, which is the highest number in 19 years," CPD spokesperson Tom Ahern tells Axios.

Between the numbers: The overall ranks of the Chicago police have dropped significantly. According to a WGN-TV investigation, the police department is on track to lose over 1,000 officers from resignation and retirement this year, the most since 2018.

  • Alderperson Anthony Beale (9th) says to WGN-TV, "It is why crime is escalating in the city of Chicago."

Yes, but: Alderperson Ray Lopez (15th) has been upset with the police department moving officers downtown instead of staying in his ward, particularly Back of the Yards.

  • "In my district beat officers have been pulled out, reassigned, to go to downtown and other high priority areas as deemed by the mayor," Lopez told Fox 32.

The latest: In an effort to quell concerns over 2021's violent crime numbers, Mayor Lightfoot asked U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland yesterday for more federal agents for help in going after illegal guns.

  • In April 2021, The UChicago Crime Lab published gun datashowing that in early 2020, traffic stops dropped 85% because of the pandemic. But illegal gun confiscations went up.
  • The data suggests that there was a 110% increase in gun carrying from 2019 to 2020.
  • Visit our interactive map to see violent crime statistics in your area.

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