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Chicago To Blame For National Spike In Murders, Violence, Study Says

By Kelly Bauer | December 20, 2016 1:16pm | Updated on December 20, 2016 2:31pm
 The city's big uptick in murders is helping fuel a national spike, according to a study.
The city's big uptick in murders is helping fuel a national spike, according to a study.
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DNAinfo/Devlin Brown

DOWNTOWN — The city's big uptick in murders this year is helping fuel a national spike, according to a study.

The national murder rate is expected to rise by 13.1 percent by the end of 2016, and nearly half of that comes just from Chicago, according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice, which studied 30 of the country's biggest cities to see how violence has changed this year. Other major cities, like New York and Baltimore, have seen murders fall.

And while the national overall crime rate is expected to remain about the same this year as it was in 2015, Chicago is projected to see a 9.1 percent increase, according to the report.

Chicago is the only major city in the country that will see "significant, back-to-back increases" in murder and violent crime, the report found.

"Crime rose significantly in Chicago this year and last," according to the report. "No other large city is expected to see a comparable increase in violence. The causes are still unclear, but some theories include higher concentrations of poverty, increased gang activity and fewer police officers."

There's no "national murder wave," according to the study, but crime in Chicago — dubbed an "outlier" among the country's biggest cities — and several other cities is "a serious problem."

Shootings in Chicago are up nearly 50 percent this year compared to 2015, according to a DNAinfo analysis, and more than 720 people have been murdered this year.

Together with Baltimore and Houston, Chicago is expected to account for half of new homicides since 2014, according to the report.

Officials have pointed to a number of reasons for the city's spike: Police say a disproportionate amount of violence has been fueled by a relatively small group of people; the Police Department has lost hundreds of detectives and seen its homicide clearance rate fall; and the areas hit hardest by crime are "the most segregated and poorest" in the city, according to the report.

"The national increase in murders identified by this report, in other words, may owe more to profound local problems in a few Chicago neighborhoods than national trends," the report stated.

Earlier this year, a report form Pew Research found that crime is declining across the country — but that Chicago's struggle to stop murders and other violence might make people think crime is worse than it is.

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