Chicago’s recent crime marker and streak of violence puts the city on the map in terms of violence and crime statistics. The FBI released the national crime statistics for 2016 this week and violent crime is up for the second year in a row. The FBI released an annual report on national crime statistics and the numbers that shows there were about 17,250 murders in America last year, up 8.6 percent from 2015. Chicago had a total of 762 murders in 2016, according to CNN. 2016 was one of the bloodiest years in Chicago in nearly 20 years.
The FBI stats are broken up into violent and property crimes. Violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes include motor vehicle theft, burglary and larceny-theft. Overall violent crimes rose 4.1 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, making it the second year in a row violent crimes have gone up. Property crimes were down 1.3 percent in 2016 compared with 2015 statistics. The FBI complies crime data from their Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, which is used by more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies across the country.
While 17,250 murders across the country is a staggering number, it makes up only 1.4 percent of the overall violent crimes in 2016. According to the FBI, 1.2 million violent crimes took place in the U.S. last year. A majority of those crimes were related to aggravated assault making up 64.3 percent of the overall violent crimes in 2016. Robbery was 26.6 percent and rape made up 7.7 percent of the total violent crimes reported last year.
In terms of property crimes, the majority of crimes reported were larceny-theft at 71.2 percent of the total. Of the nearly 8 million property crimes reported, a total of about $15.6 billion in losses resulted.
The FBI continues to report these crimes to the UCR system, but along with these statistics from last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray asked law enforcement agencies to continue to transition to the more extensive and informative National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). This will become the official standard for crime reporting by 2021. NIBRS also provides more transparency in departments, according to the FBI.
“The more complete the data, the better we can inform, educate, and strengthen all of our communities,” Wray said.
With 2017 nearly coming to an end, the number of shootings and homicides are slightly lower than last year, but that’s not saying much. We just reached 500 homicides for the year, down from the 543 homicides this time of year in 2015, but still too high. While violent crimes and shootings here in Chicago play a major role in the overall violent crime statistics of the country, there’s a deeper-rooted issue here. A lethal combination of illegal firearms brought to the area and distributed to gangs mixed with a strong distrust in the Chicago Police Department has led to a lot of violence. With violence still on the rise, just remember to be safe out there. Be aware of your surroundings and live peacefully with one another.
By Lauren Stevens