7 May 2022


Black Americas Invisible Crisis

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Approve or Disprove Statement

Since the beginning of the 20th Century crime in Chicago has been an important focus as the Chicago Police Department keep track of the events taking place. As a result, the number of homicides taking place in the region could easily be quantified and effective action taken to reduce the number. The number of homicides that have occurred in the city of Chicago has greatly increased since the turn of the new millennium. Indeed the number of deaths occurring between 2002 and 2012 due to homicide are over the 5000 as stated by the Lois Beckett (2014) in Essence magazine. These deaths are attributed mainly due to violent crimes that take place in the 77 different communities as reported by Papachristos (2013). In 2012 alone, over 500 murders took place in Chicago with only 132 being solved (Isackson, 2013).

The number of deaths of Americans in war on the other hand is seen to be far less that those taking place in Chicago. As of October 2015, the US Department of Defense announced 2,254 military servicemen killed in Afghanistan alone. However, by 2012 this number had already reached higher than 2000 deaths. The number of deaths in Afghanistan compared to that of Chicago is not equal and could indeed be nearly three times less of the latter (Beckett, 2014). This is to demonstrate that truly more Americans are dying in the comforts of their own homes than in the battlefields where there are constant hostile enemies.

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Homicides in Atlanta, Georgia between 2002 and 2012

Between the same period of 2002 and 2012 it is important to compare the number of deaths occurring in other American cities to that of Chicago. In this case, Atlanta city in Georgia will be the main focus. The crime rate in Atlanta Georgia has steadily been reducing from a total of 1056.9 per 100,000 population in 2002 to 607 per 100,000 in 2014. This has also been experienced in the case of homicides in the city where in 2002 the rate was at 152 per 100,000 persons which gives a total of 34.9%. In 2014 the rate of homicides was at 93 per 100,000 residents giving a 20.5%. However, in between the 12 year period there were significant fluctuations of the rate of homicides occurring in the city.

A report by Paliwal, Cabrera, Dougherty and Klofas (2016) the number of deaths occurring in Chicago and Atlanta are incomparable. Hereby, between the years 2000 and 2014 the average number of deaths taking place in the two cities is quite different as Chicago sits at a staggering 500 murders in a year as opposed to Atlanta’s 109 in a year. As of 2015, the homicides that occurred in Chicago were 488 according to the report while in the city of Atlanta the number was far less at 71 (Paliwal, Cabrera, Dougherty and Klofas, 2016). This is a clear indication that the law enforcement officers along with the members of the community in Chicago should take initiative in solving the homicide crimes.

Homicides in Chicago and How to reduce them

It is an important task that the homicides taking place in Chicago are reduced particularly against the African Americans who are majority of the victims. With the high deaths occurring, the solving of these cases has been lower in 2011 as opposed to 1991 with 34% and 70% respectively. As Isackson states in the Chicago magazine (2013), “in Chicago, people quite literally get away with murder”. Approximately 75% of the total victims are African American whereas another 70% were the offenders. These numbers demonstrate the need to take action to protect African American lives. This is possible is the number of firearms in the homes are reduced where statistics indicate that nearly 83% of the murders involved a firearm. This could be identified as the major cause of death in the 77 different communities. Other causes include sharp objects like knives and blades accounting for 6-4% of the murders.

The law enforcement in these areas should take significant action in ensuring the homicide rates are reduced. Many of the deaths occurring in the South Side of Chicago are as a result of street gangs and narcotics altercations with nearly 60% of the homicides taking place being attributed to them. Only 10% are caused by armed robberies. It is also evident that the majority of the offenders are youths between the ages of 17 and 25 accounting for nearly 60%. Majority of the deaths taking place in Chicago are predominantly taking place in the South Side where the residents are poorer, less educated and mainly African Americans. The “no snitch” policy that is observed in majority of these neighborhoods has hindered police from taking action and eliminating these individuals from the community. 

There have been numerous efforts by both the government and community to reduce homicides in Chicago. Isackson (2013) identifies a mother whose son was murdered in 2012 giving a $10,000 reward to community members who have information to help in solving the crime. This is an initiative that will enable members of the community to abandon the “no snitch code” that hinders the elimination of the murderers in the region. In 2015, an action plan was created that included Mayor Emanuel and Presiding Judge Hon. Paul Biebel among other significant members of the community in a bid to make the Chicago area safe for its residents (City County Action Plan, 2015).


Beckett, L. (2014) Black America's Invisible Crisis . Essence Magazine, Online. Retrieved from http://www.essence.com/2014/09/05/propublica-post-traumatic-stress-disorder  

City County Action Plan (2015) Community Anti-Violence and Restoration Effort (CARE) for Chicago . Ccachicago.org, Online. Retrieved from http://www.ccachicago.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/CARE4Community-Action-Plan.pdf  

Isackson, N. (2013) Chicago’s Criminals Are Getting Away With Murder . Chicagomag.com, Online. Retrieved from http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/May-2013/Getting-Away-with-Murder/  

Paliwal, A., Cabrera, N., Dougherty, J. and Klofas, J. (2016) Comparison of Cities’ Homicide Rates over Time: 2015 Data . Center for Public Safety Initiatives, Online. Retrieved from https://www.rit.edu/cla/criminaljustice/sites/rit.edu.cla.criminaljustice/files/images/2016-07%20-%20ComparisonofCitiesHomicideRatesOverTime-2016_Final.pdf  

Papachristos, A. A. (2013) 48 YEARS OF CRIME IN CHICAGO: A Descriptive Analysis of Serious Crime Trends from 1965 to 2013 . Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University. Retrieved from http://isps.yale.edu/sites/default/files/publication/2013/12/48yearsofcrime_final_ispsworkingpaper023.pdf  

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Black Americas Invisible Crisis.


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