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Chicago Crime Rate Is Up, But Arrests Are Down

LaTanya Gordon thinks she knows who killed her sons. Her eldest, 20-year-old Tyler “Ty Ty” Malden, was shot in the head and an arm on April 6, 2020, targeted in a drive-by attack in an alley in the 10000 block of South Torrence Avenue. As rumors drifted through the neighborhood, Gordon says a young man began “bragging on Facebook that he did the murder.” Her other son, 15-year-old Terrance “Munchie” Malden, joined a chorus of neighbors who spoke out about the man’s claims.

Months later, that July 10, Terrance was killed, struck in the back in a drive-by shooting in an alley in the 9800 block of South Hoxie Avenue, blocks from where his brother was slain. Gordon thinks the person who claimed responsibility for Tyler’s killing had a hand in Terrance’s death, too.

Gordon says it’s “frustrating to the utmost” that Chicago police detectives haven’t been able to make a case. Updates from detectives have been infrequent, she says, and it’s difficult to get them on the phone. In the years since Gordon’s sons were killed, violent crime in Chicago has continued to surge —and criminals are mostly getting away with it, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The police have made arrests in just twelve percent of crimes reported last year, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis. That’s the lowest level since at least 2001, the first year the data was made publicly available. The overall arrest rate peaked at nearly thirty one percent in 2005 and has dropped steadily.

The decline in arrests mirrors a drop in nearly every category of police officers’ activity tracked by the Chicago Police Department. The numbers of traffic stops, tickets and investigative stops — in which pedestrians are patted down or searched by officers on the street — all have plummeted. The number of investigative stops dropped by more than half between 2019 and last year, falling from 155,000 citywide to 69,000.

And fewer crimes overall are getting reported — by victims and by the police, who used to produce many crime reports themselves while patrolling their beats. The slowdown amounts to a pullback by police officers as the city has experienced its most violent years in decades, a rise also seen in other major U.S. cities during the coronavirus pandemic and in the wake of the 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.


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