Crime flat despite spike in Chicago murder rate

Crime flat despite spike in Chicago murder rate

A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice finds that the U.S. crime rate is flat, but that the murder rate increased by 13.1 percent from 2015 to 2016.

It attributed the spike in murders to Chicago, where law enforcement has been dealing with a massive crime wave. Chicago experienced 234 murders in 2015, a number that is a little less than half of the 496 murders reported nationwide.

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The Brennan Center described Chicago as an outlier, however, arguing that the broader trend suggests the violent crime rate is not spiking.

“These findings undercut media reports referring to crime as ‘out of control,’ or heralding a new nationwide crime wave,” it wrote.

“Very few cities are projected to see crime rise uniformly this year, and only Chicago will see significant, back-to-back increases in both violent crime and murder,” the report said.

Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE earlier this year argued that crime is “out of control and rapidly getting worse,” pointing to Chicago as evidence.

Trump’s comments came amid a series of incidents involving black men and police officers and the ambush-style shooting of police in Dallas this past summer.

Trump pegged himself early on as the “law and order candidate” and has centered much of his campaign on safety and security issues.

The Brennan Center report estimates that crime will rise 1.3 percent this year, with violent crime rising 5.5 percent. It says half of the rise in violent crime is due to increases in Los Angeles, where it is up 17 percent, and Chicago, where it is up 16 percent.

In arguing that Chicago is largely driving the 13 percent hike in the murder rate, it noted that murder is down in Washington, D.C., by 10.9 percent and Baltimore by 9 percent.

The report also cautioned that increases and decreases in various city murder rates are within a range of previous two-year fluctuations.

It said the reasons for the spike in crime in Chicago is unclear, though it noted, “No other 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,” it said.

The Brennan Center is analyzing crime data from the 30 largest cities in the United States.