Crime Lab What Can We Learn From Chicago's Declining Gun Violence?
The Trace / January 1, 2019
By Brian Freskos
For the second year in a row, gun violence in Chicago fell. Homicides in 2018 dropped nearly 28 percent over 2016, to 561, and shootings plunged nearly 33 percent, to 2,391.
The decline is a welcome development for a city whose struggle with gun violence has been the focus of national headlines and political pronouncements, particularly from President Donald Trump.
In 2016, the city’s homicide rate reached a level not seen in two decades, and 90 percent of those deaths came by way of a gun. Seeking an explanation for the surge, observers pointed their fingers at a slew of perceived culprits, ranging from weather to fractured gang hierarchies to drops in social services funding.
Researchers at the University of Chicago Crime Lab set out to test whether those explanations were true, and published their findings in a report with the straightforward title, “Gun Violence in Chicago, 2016.”