1/22/2011

Weren't Chicago's murder rates supposed to soar after the Supreme Court Decision?


The data are available here, here, here, here, and here.

In June this last year, people were worried that Chicago's murder rates were going up:

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis released sobering statistics on city crime Sunday morning, announcing that homicides were higher through May 2010 than they were to that point last year.
The results were more encouraging in other areas, as total crime was down nearly 6 percent and other violent crimes fell 12 percent.
But the murder rate was particularly troubling to Weis. "Homicides have continued to challenge us," he said.
"This is still a work in progress," Weis said of the city's effort to reduce murders. "We study it and are working to get officers in the right place to stop acts of violence."
Across Chicago, 164 homicides were recorded through May of this year. That's a 4 percent increase over the 158 homicides in January through May of 2009, according to figures reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. . . .


In late April last year with murders outpacing the rate over the same time during 2009, one headline read: "Ill. State Reps Ask Gov. For National Guard to Cut Murder Rate."

Mayor Daley was using the higher murder rate to call for even more gun control.

The homicide rate in Chicago has jumped in the past month, and the city is grappling with how best to respond.
At least two weekends in a row have been marred by multiple killings. For many Chicagoans, the breaking point was last Wednesday, when a 20-month-old girl was shot in the head while in a parked car on the South Side. The alleged gunman, who turned himself in, was reportedly aiming for the girl’s father.
As of last Sunday, Chicago tallied 113 homicides for 2010, compared with 101 for the same period last year.
The city’s mayor, state lawmakers, and the Chicago Police Department, among others, are weighing in on what should – and shouldn’t – be done.
On Sunday, state Reps. John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford, both Democrats, suggested that the National Guard should be dispatched to curb the recent rise in violence. They made the proposal to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D). . . .


Among the predictions about what would happen after the court's decision, you have this:

Justice John Paul Stevens, who warned that the McDonald ruling "could prove far more destructive - quite literally - to our nation's communities" than the precedent case, Heller. He was hardly alone. The ruling is "bad news for democracy and public safety," warned the Kansas City Star. "Today's decision will only add to" the firearms death toll, wrote the Violence Policy Center's Josh Sugarman, who insisted that "more guns means more gun death." The McDonald ruling "moves us toward anarchy," shrieked The Washington Post's David Ignatius. "Perhaps Chief Justice Roberts and other enthusiasts for our newly-created universal right to bear arms should take a trip to Beirut or Baghdad and see how this idea works out in practice." . . .


Now what a difference six months makes. This month the Chicago Tribune's headline read: "Chicago homicides in 2010 fell to lowest level since 1965."

Chicago police Superintendent Jody Weis largely credited computerized research that helps police determine where violent crimes are likely to occur for what he called a historic drop in homicides in 2010.
Homicides fell to 435, the city's lowest total in almost half a century and a 5.4 percent drop from 460 in 2009. That marked the fewest murders since Chicago recorded 395 homicides in 1965, Weis said at a news conference Monday. . . .


Note that Chicago enacted a new gun control law that went into effect two weeks after the Supreme Court decision in McDonald.

Bucking a national trend toward more tolerance for firearms, Chicago today begins enforcing the toughest gun law in the nation -- and it's already under fire.
Two lawsuits have already been filed against the ordinance, which bans gun shops in the city and limits permit holders to one ready-to-fire weapon inside the home -- excluding the porch, the garage or the yard. People are allowed to own more guns, but they cannot be loaded.
Legal experts say the law is not bulletproof and could be headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in June that Americans have the right to possess handguns for self-defense. That ruling made the Chicago's existing gun ban, which had been in effect for 28 years, unenforceable. In its place Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City Council created the new law that goes into effect today. . . .


Some anecdotal evidence of increased gun sales.

After a Supreme Court decision affirming the right to bear arms was handed down in June, the owners of Midwest Sporting Goods, just outside of Chicago, started noticed something any retailer would find encouraging – an increasing number of customers. . . .
"It's not like sales suddenly went through the roof," he said. "There are still restrictions and waiting periods. But we are anticipating a major increase in sales going forward. It's not going to happen overnight, but it's going to happen."
Others in the industry agree that sales of firearms, particularly pistols and revolvers, could explode. . . .


My discussion on the new law is here.

For a discussion of the rate that new permits have been issued see here.

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