Good news from Chicago: Only 413 murdered Americans in 2013

Neil Munro | White House Correspondent

Good news from Chicago: The catastrophic murder rate in the Democratic-controlled city was slightly less catastrophic in 2013 than in 2012.

Only 413 Americans were shot, stabbed or bludgeoned to death in the city, where all 50 aldermen are Democrats. Most of the victims in the blue-voting city were African-Americans or Hispanic, and very few were white.

Still, the city’s Democratic leaders cautiously cheered the deaths of the 413 Americans, more than one victim per day, which included one young woman who marched in President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration parade.

“We continue to make significant progress in reducing crime rates to historic levels, and gains are being made in all communities across Chicago,” said a statement from Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The 413 murders are “good news for our children and families… [and] we will continue working until everyone enjoys the same sense of safety,” said Emmanuel, who worked as Obama’s first chief of staff.

“We’ve seen a major decrease here,” said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a radical, Democrat-affiliated priest in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, and a former community organizer who worked with Barack Obama in the 1990s. However, Chicagoans must be “very careful that now people don’t kind of lull themselves into a sleep,” he said, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

The toll of 413 dead is down from the 2012 score of 503 dead. Chicago has a population of 2.7 million and has only had Democratic mayors since 1931. By comparison, New York, with more than 8 million, suffered only 333 murders in 2013 as of Sunday. The Big Apple elected Republican Rudy Giuliani in 1993. Giuliani’s successor Michael Bloomberg was also a Republican who went Independent in 2007.

The 2012 slaughter prompted social media users to label Obama’s adopted hometown as “Chiraq,” “Shot-Town” and “Killinois.”

The 2013 murder toll is also down from a record high of 943 in 1992, under the 22-year tenure of Democratic Mayor Richard M Daley. He’s the son of a prior Democratic mayor of the city, and the brother of another Obama chief of staff, William Daley.

Obama lived in the city, and was a Democratic state Senator, from 1997 to 2004, during a time when 5,118 of his fellow citizens were murdered. In 2012, he based his reelection headquarters in the city.

That’s slightly less than the 5,281 Americans killed in the Iraq and Afghan campaigns against Saddam Hussein’s baathists and various jihadis from 2001 to 2013.

Still, the city’s murder rate was somewhat lower than the murder rate in Detroit, another Democatic-controlled city. One out of every 6,313 Chicagoans were murdered in 2013, but 1 out of every 2,418 residents in Detroit were killed in 2013.

Chicago’s population of 2.7 million is almost four time Detroit’s population of 700,000.

The vast majority of Chicago’s murder victims are poor African-Americans living in the low-income districts sandwiched between wealthier white suburbs and lakeshore areas, where Obama’s Chicago home is based.

“The average Chicago homicide victim in 2013 was a 19-year-old black man, according to medical examiner’s office data,” the the Sun Times newspaper reported.

Under 10 percent of the city’s murder victims are white, even though whites comprise roughly 43 percent of the city’s population.

This disparity in death rates among the city’s racial groups has not prompted any intervention by the Department of Justice.

That department’s passivity stands in contrast to its active role in the financial sector, where it has sued numerous banks for for “disparate treatment” of African Americans.

In the lawsuits, DoJ officials claimed the banks were at fault when their color-blind lending rules didn’t stop African-Americans and Hispanics from accepting loans at higher interest rates than were accepted by whites or Asians.

Chicago’s government mayor and all 50 aldermen are Democratic.

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