Black Lives Matter collectively insists that violence in the nation’s big cities is the fault of police because they are “murdering” blacks in the streets. But at least in the case of Chicago, after hitting 500 murders making this its bloodiest year in decades, the truth is that very few of those deaths have been at the hands of police.
In a city with some of the most strict gun control laws in the nation, the Windy City surpassed 500 murders over the Labor Day weekend, a grim milestone that already makes 2016 the most dangerous year in over two decades. By contrast, there were only 468 murders in all of 2015.
The Labor Day weekend tally also made it “the deadliest of the three holiday weekends this summer,” the Chicago Tribune reported. Although 69 people were shot on Memorial Weekend, only six were fatalities. And while 66 were shot over Fourth of July weekend, only five were fatalities.
CNN notes that Chicago is on track for its deadliest year in decades — and not by just a little bit. If the projections based on incidents earlier this year holds, Chicago could easily surpass 675 homicides, passing both 2008 and 2012 which each saw just over 500 murders.
Many in the community want to blame the Chicago police, especially after a handful of high-profile cases of police-involved deaths. But a review of the actual numbers of deaths caused by police shooting a suspect shows a far different situation.
Thus far this year, the Independent Police Review Authority has noted that only 6 people have been shot and killed by Chicago police. It is hardly the epidemic critics want to promulgate. The numbers weren’t much worse over the last two years, either. In 2015, only nine were killed at the hands of the Chicago police, and in 2014, the number was seventeen, whereas both years had over 400 murders in total.
Certainly, police are increasingly wary of entering the most violent neighborhoods. One anonymous former officer recently reported that Chicago police are being baited into shooting incidents with ambushes and set-ups meant to distract them from catching criminals and putting a halt to gang activity.
City Hall is also a drag on the CPD’s morale. A recent task force convened by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, for instance, claimed police have “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”
According to The Guardian, for instance, as of the end of August, only four percent of the city’s shooters have been arrested. That means the CPD has arrested only 73 shooters out of more than 2,000 shooting incidents this year.
That isn’t the only law enforcement stat that has tumbled in Chicago.
Chicago’s DNAInfo reports, earlier this year, that there has been a major drop in the number of investigative stops in the city — and not just a small drop, either.
“In the first 11 days of the year,” DNAinfo wrote in January, “officers filed just 3,916 investigative stop reports compared to 16,698 during the same time period last year, according to police data.”
At the time, that was a 79 percent drop in investigative stops in just a year. It appeared to be a major change in police policy.
Further, the news source also said that “gun confiscations and arrests are each down more than 35 percent this year.”
The CPD is well aware of these failings, though. Recently, Eddie Johnson, Chicago’s newest top cop, tried to reverse the image of a department pulling back by initiating a series of arrests meant to put a crimp in the city’s gangs. Late in August, Johnson launched a campaign that ended in the arrests of over 100 gang members.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.