What is it?
The killing of one human being by another.
What does our data show?
The number of first-degree murder cases dropped from over 500 in 2000 to around 250 in 2018. There are far fewer homicide cases filed every year than there are homicides because many murders go unsolved. According to Chicago Police data, the department cleared just 29% of homicides in 2016 and about 45% in 2018.
Detailed charts are unavailable for charges with fewer than 750 cases.
Race and Gender
This data shows that Black people make up the vast majority of criminal defendants charged in Cook County. Of the more than 3 million criminal cases filed in Cook County between 2000 and 2018, more than 61% were filed against Black people, even though Black people only make up 23% of the county’s population.
Research suggests the disparity has more to do with social inequity than an inherent link between race and criminality. Concentrated poverty in urban areas increases the likelihood of certain violent and property crimes, particularly in under-resourced, racially segregated communities. Black people are the most racially isolated group in Cook County and tend to live in communities where intergenerational poverty and violence, abetted by segregation, disinvestment, and institutionalized racism, have limited opportunities for many.
The disparities in charges also reflect inequities and racial bias in policing. Black people are disproportionately targeted for arrest. These numbers reflect overall trends seen in our era of mass incarceration, driven especially by law enforcement strategies such as Broken Windows policing, stop and frisk, disproportionate stops of Black drivers, and disparities in drug arrests.