Jack Levin, a sociology and criminology professor at Boston’s Northeastern University, says it’s troubling that Chicago’s murder count is rising while it falls in other major cities. In 2010, Los Angeles had 297 murders, the lowest since 1967. New York homicides have been declining since 1990, when a record 2,245 fell in the nation’s largest city.
The rest of the article then discusses what might be done in Chicago.
However, why not put this in a more comparative perspective? In other words, just how unique is Chicago compared to other places? As an urban sociologist, this is an interesting if more broad question: are the major US cities more similar or more different? Putting it differently, what is so unique about Chicago that leads to the occurrence of more murders? Chicagoans themselves, and probably also residents of other major cities, may think their city is ultimately unique and not replicable elsewhere. Yes, major cities differ on a variety of factors but they also share some common characteristics such as social complexity, pockets of wealth and poverty, the strong presence of gangs, large (and occasionally problematic) police forces, and politicians who want to reduce the crime rate to make the city safer, protect kids, burnish the city’s image, and help promote economic growth. Is there anything Chicago could learn from elsewhere in order to reduce the murder rate?