Study finds race has 18-fold effect on Chicago homicide rate

African-American Chicago residents are 18 times more likely to be killed than white residents, according to the Illinois Violent Death Reporting System at Chicago-based Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital.

A recent data brief published by the IVDRS shows homicide rates grew 8.6 percent between 2005 and 2015. A decade ago, the homicide rate per 100,000 Chicagoans was 17.32, and this number has grown to 18.81 in 2015. The IVDRS found this increase in homicides was not evenly distributed across Chicago's residents.

It found a statistically significant increase in murders among black Chicagoans of 28.7 percent over the last decade, from 36.14 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2005 to 46.52 per 100,000 in 2015. Meanwhile murders among white Chicagoans dropped almost 40 percent during the same time period. IVDRS also found homicides among females in Chicago are decreasing as male homicides continue to grow.

Across the study, which compared homicide rates from 2005, 2010 and 2015, guns were the most common weapon used, and each of the years studied marked a statistically significant increase in the percentage of deaths by firearms. Almost 90 percent of Chicago's homicides involved guns, according to the report.

"Seeing that number of firearm use compared to other weapons used is staggering," Karen Sheehan, MD, emergency department physician and professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Chicago-based Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Gun violence remains the leading cause of death for young people in Chicago. Although this is appalling, we shouldn't be surprised. Currently, there is limited funding to support high quality firearm injury prevention research. If we truly want to prevent firearm injuries and death, we will treat this like the public health crisis it is and invest in understanding and addressing this epidemic."

Read the full data brief here.  


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