As Trump wrongly says Chicago has "toughest" gun laws, city homicides go unsolved

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
and Barb Markoff
Tuesday, November 07, 2017 06:34PM
The I-Team reports that only one of every five homicides committed in Chicago in 2017 has been solved.


CHICAGO - As a national gun debate rages in the wake of Sunday's Texas church massacre, the number of U.S. murders that go unsolved is spiking at an alarming rate.

From overseas on Tuesday President Donald Trump tried to redirect the gun conversation by once again citing Chicago as a "disaster" when it comes to murders.

"Chicago the city with the strongest gun laws in our nation and Chicago is a disaster, it's a total disaster," said President Trump in Seoul, South Korea.

Even though that statement is false, and many other cities and states have equal or tougher gun laws than Chicago, the city's increasing number of unsolved murders is climbing.

According to the latest Chicago Police Department data, about 85 percent of killings this year have not been solved. Currently the number of homicides in Chicago stands at 601.

That puts the city on track for a record-low "clearance rate" in 2017, and among, or at, the lowest solve-rates for murders in the nation.

Chicago's numbers are well below the 2016 national clearance average of 59.4 percent according to FBI records, and even that was the first time the national clearance rate dropped below 60 percent.

Nationally, murder clearance rates have steadily fallen since 1965 but are still significantly higher than Chicago's current rate of only one in five cases solved.

Chicago's murder clearance rate was much better, about 60 percent, during the 1990's and even hit 70 percent in 1991.

But gang killings, which are mostly responsible for a surge in murders the past decade, have cut into the police department's ability to track offenders and make arrests.

Similar explanations are provided by authorities in Detroit, where only 14 percent of killings were cleared in 2016 and in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Memphis, New Orleans and Dallas which all reported most homicide investigations failed to produce arrests.

In comparison, the Los Angeles Police Department in 2016 reported clearing 73 percent of homicides. That figure was the best among major cities, followed by the New York Police Department with 69 percent.
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