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August 25, 2014

Is Chicago now providing more support for the claim that more guns means less crime?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this new Washington Times article (hat tip: C&C), which carries the headline "Chicago crime rate drops as concealed carry applications surge; City sees fewer homicides, robberies, burglaries, car thefts as Illinois residents take arms."  Here are excerpts:

Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively.  In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.  “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

As of July 29 the state had 83,183 applications for concealed carry and had issued 68,549 licenses.  By the end of the year, Mr. Pearson estimates, 100,000 Illinois citizens will be packing.  When Illinois began processing requests in January, gun training and shooting classes — which are required for the application — were filling up before the rifle association was able to schedule them, Mr. Pearson said.

The Chicago Police Department has credited better police work as a reason for the lower crime rates this year. Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy noted the confiscation of more than 1,300 illegal guns in the first three months of the year, better police training and “intelligent policing strategies.” The Chicago Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Washington Times.

However, the impact of concealed carry can’t be dismissed.  Instead of creating more crimes, which many gun control advocates warn, increased concealed carry rates have coincided with lower rates of crime.

A July study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans have permits to carry concealed weapons, a 147 percent increase from 4.5 million seven years ago.  Meanwhile, homicide and other violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent. 

“There’s a lot of academic research that’s been done on this, and if you look at the peer-reviewed studies, the bottom line is a large majority find a benefit of concealed carry on crime rates — and, at worst, there’s no cost,” said John Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center based in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. “You can deter criminals with longer prison sentences and penalties, but arming people with the right to defend themselves with a gun is also a deterrence.”

I know that all the research concerning relationships between gun laws and crime are controversial, and I am certain that these recent Chicago experience will not come close to resolving these on-going debates.  Still, whatever might account for the good crime news out of Chicago, I hope everyone is inclined to celebrate the reality of greater personal liberty and less crime in the Windy City.

August 25, 2014 at 05:34 PM | Permalink


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I have often pointed out there are poor and rich low crime countries, states, counties. One factor that unifies them: public self help. So people in Switzerland may carry. People in Japan and in Egypt do not. yet, in all the criminal must fear the citizenry far more then the police.

I steal a radio in small town Iowa. Everyone knows there is a coincidence between my new radio, and the loss of one to theft by my neighbor. The neighbors will talk to me.

The Supremacy has proposed training all law abiding citizens in gun handling and safety. They immunize them. Then pass a statute that anyone seen not trying to fire a weapon at the scene of a violent crime will be mailed a ticket with a fine for $100. If one kills a criminal with 3 prior violent convictions, there should be a cash reward of $10,000.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 26, 2014 12:36:01 AM

I am in favor of concealed carry, but I'm skeptical that Chicago's data is all that supportive of it. It's hardly surprising that Chicago's murder rate is down so far...we just came off of the third coldest winter in history.

If the crime rate continues to go down with more normalized temperatures, I'll be more impressed.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Aug 26, 2014 9:11:29 AM

The crime rates have been dropping for years before concealed carry, so this sounds more like correlation than causation. The inclusion of motor vehicle theft as evidence seems especially odd given that thieves steal cars when no one is around, so the link with concealed carry is unclear at best.

Chicago crime data is also highly suspect

Posted by: Paul | Aug 26, 2014 9:25:35 AM

It may be a coincidence that the windy citys violent crime rate has dropped with the increase of concealed carry permits. Im all for concealed carry, especially in Chicago.

Police cannot respond quickly enough. There are tons of thugs and gangland is present on many a corner block.

Turn Charles Bronson loose in chicago vigilante style. They gad 60 + shootins over new years eve weekend. The thugs must be sot back at...

Seriously, fir protection purposes, more armed capable residents need to ready themselves. Chicago us thugland for sure.

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Aug 26, 2014 8:58:16 PM

"I hope everyone is inclined to celebrate the reality of greater personal liberty and less crime in the Windy City." Have you lost your mind? The Illinois Rifle Association might just have a slight bias, don't you think? I'm amazed that anyone would celebrate the idea of more guns in the hands of untrained individuals and point to that as an example of greater personal liberty. You have to be an idiot to make that statement when we are living in a time of the NSA spying, Ferguson, an unprecedented polarization of wealth, Citizen's United...Yeah, let's party. Four people were murdered on the South side just last night alone. Not one weekend goes by where less than 10 people are shot in Chicago. Or are these stats just for white people?

Posted by: Amazed by your stupidity | Aug 29, 2014 6:37:02 AM

WEEK IN REVIEW: 12 killed in Chicago shootings

8/25/14, 10:02

Homicide Watch Chicago Editor

Twelve people were killed in shootings throughout Chicago last week.

Five of the killings happened over the weekend, when 42 other people were wounded by gunfire, authorities said.

Overall, three of the 12 victims were boys 14 years old or younger.

The most recent murder happened when 14-year-old Marcus McCarty was shot in the 1100 block of North Leclaire Avenue in the Austin community at 2:52 p.m. Sunday, authorities said.

McCarty, of the 1000 block of North Leclaire Avenue, died about an hour later at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

In the Little Village community, 16-year-old Victor Martinon was shot while talking with friends in the 2200 block of South Marshall Boulevard about 6 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.

Martinon, of the 2300 block of South Trumbull Avenue, was struck twice in the chest and died at Mount Sinai Hospital about 30 minutes later, authorities said.

In the Back of the Yards neighborhood, 40-year-old Quentin Graham, of the 700 block of West 50th Place, was fatally shot in the 800 block of West 50th Place about 2:45 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.

In the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, 30-year-old James McCoy was shot inside a lounge in the 8300 block of South Halsted Street, authorities said.

McCoy, 30, from downstate Peoria, was shot in the chest and died about an hour later at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, authorities said. Three other men were wounded in the shooting, police said.

In the Austin neighborhood, 33-year-old Andre Byrd, of the 200 block of North Kolin Avenue, was killed when gunfire erupted at a backyard party in the 5000 block of West Potomac Avenue about 2 a.m. Sunday, authorities said. Two other men, 35 and 36, were also wounded in the shooting, police said.

On Thursday, 52-year-old Michael Clark, of the 7200 block of South Paulina Street, was fatally shot in the 7200 block of South Winchester Avenue in the West Englewood neighborhood about 11:25 p.m. Thursday, authorities said. A 23-year-old man was also wounded in the shooting, police said.

In the Riverdale community, 21-year-old Jadon Johnson was shot while sitting in a parked vehile in the 13300 block of South Indiana Avenue about 12:10 a.m. Thursday, authorities said.

A relative drove Johnson, of the 700 block of East 89th Place, to Roseland Community Hospital, where he died a short time later, according to the medical examiner’s office.

On Wednesday, 9-year-old Antonio Smith was shot in the back yard of an apartment building in the 1200 block of East 71st Street in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood about 4:05 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said.

Antonio had ran out of his family’s apartment in the 1100 block of East 73rd Street after being told he couldn't have a cupcake, his mother said.

On Tuesday, 19-year-old Dorval Jenkins was shot in the 9900 block of South Calhoun Avenue in the South Deering community when the gunfire erupted about 10:15 p.m., authorities said.

Jenkins, of the 9700 block of South Calhoun Avenue, was shot multiple times and died at Christ Medical Center about an hour later, according to the medical examiner’s office. An 18-year-old man was also shot in the arm and a 17-year-old girl was shot in the leg, police said.

In Bridgeport, 84-year-old Chen Su allegedly fatally shot his wife Hsin Su, 84, during what police called a “domestic-related murder-suicide” in the 900 block of West 31st Place about 9 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

On Monday, police found 27-year-old Seadl Commings shot in the street in the 800 block of South Central Park Avenue about 11:35 p.m., authorities said.

Commings, of the 3600 block of West Polk Street, was shot in the chest and died at Mount Sinai Hospital less than an hour later, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The slayings started when 20-year-old Joel Wade, of the 7300 block of South Emerald Avenue, was killed in a drive-by shooting while standing on a sidewalk in the 7800 block of South Winchester Avenue about 10:25 p.m. Monday, authorities said. A 26-year-old man and a teenage boy were also wounded.

Overall, the medical examiner’s office has ruled at least 270 Chicago deaths in 2014 a homicide — including 11 people killed by police.

Chicago Police, which counts murders different, have ruled some of those homicides as involuntary manslaughter, justified self-defense or accidents.

Posted by: Amazed by your stupidity | Aug 29, 2014 6:49:17 AM

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