Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chicago Crime: MARCH MADNESS - 50 Homicides


Some real Chicago madness, and it's NOWHERE TO BE FOUND IN THE NEWS. That's pretty typical so I am not sure what I was expecting. In case it is unclear, 50 murders is a lot of murders. Especially for a March (this was the warmest March for a long time, however, so we need to take that into consideration). Also, as I have made clear in the past, it is better to look at Aggravated Battery numbers instead of just homicides. Unfortunately, given that it is only early April, all of the Agg. Batt. numbers might not be posted yet.

Homicides, however, are there for everyone to see. In case you are not as alarmed our outraged as I am, here are the numbers for the last 5 years of March murders. When the Agg. Bat. stats get released, you can bet they will be just as bad.

2007: 36 Murders
2008: 33 Murders
2009: 21 Murders
2010: 31 Murders
2011: 22 Murders
2012: 50 Murders (!)

I'd be willing to bet that is a statistically significant increase on its own. Of course, we do have to take into account temperature. As every Chicagoan knows, hotter weather means more crime. There are a lot of reasons for that, and a lot of factors that contribute to the crime increase. The general trend is still pretty easy to discern. March 2012 had record warmth, with some days hitting 80 F and many more hovering around 70 F. Using 3rd grade logic, we can deduce that record warmth should probably correlate to record crime, and that is indeed what happened here.

So should we be alarmed? Is this just an anomaly that won't repeat itself to any great extent in the summer or early fall? At risk of being made fool of later, I am going to make an ugly prediction; this is going to be an unusually high crime summer. Concerned Chicagoans, local residents, and police officers should all be very worried once June (or even May) comes around. As of now, I would be unwilling to speculate on a reason for this. It might have something to do with 2012 seeing the maturation of a new generation of criminals, ones who were raised primarily in neighborhoods and not in Chicago Housing Authority apartments and complexes. That would be my null hypothesis, but I would need more data to support it fully. Whatever the reason, violence so early in the year cannot bode well for things to come.

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