Three months in, 2017 outlook still grim

One quarter of the way through 2017, Chicago’s murder and shooting rates are slowing down. Last year was record-breaking in all the wrong ways for the city’s violent crime statistics, and through today homicide is down around nine percent and shootings down 13 percent from 2016. Still, a single-digit decline in killing from the deadliest year in decades is not a great systemic improvement, but more of a course correction from a really bad outlier. And while the numbers are slightly down and much of the violence is gang-related, it’s still tough to see incidents like the string of shootings that left three children dead earlier this year, or the rash of murder that hit the South Shore neighborhood over 12 hours yesterday leaving seven dead.

While statistically it could be said that 2017 has been “better,” tragedies like this are still affecting people around the city, and saying that the numbers are down is no comfort to the friends and families the four men who were shot while eating in a restaurant or the pregnant mother killed near her home Thursday.

That violence was concentrated in the space of only a few city blocks, and it is true that some areas of Chicago are more deadly than others. But even aside from those South Shore shootings, there were seven other non-fatal incidents around the city Thursday, per the Chicago Tribune. People anywhere in Chicago have cause for concern, with those occurrences and even reports of shootings that shut down I-90 for hours. No one was hit this time, but Chicago is no stranger to freeway homicide, another random violent category Chicago leads the nation in.

So overall, violent crime is “down,” but it’s still happening and pervasive throughout the city even outside of high-danger areas. This is continuing the bad trends of last year, leaving residents feeling unsafe, and maintaining Chicago’s image as a violent place.

Year-to-date stats, per the Tribune: 137 homicides and 718 shootings.

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