President Trump's claims have always been dubious at best. A master of the "alternative fact", he has said a number of things to reach the presidency that have later been proven false. One of his consistent claims is that the nation has fallen victim to a criminal uprising. Along the campaign trail, he spoke of crime as an epidemic that needed to be addressed. These statements were usually accompanied by accusations that illegal immigrants or refugees were to blame. His claims were frequently met with harsh criticism and research disproving their validity.
One of his less frequently addressed assertions was that Chicago was in the throes of an intense crime wave. Trump has made comments, in person and via tweet, shaming the city for its reputation of violence. Trump has made his thoughts on the issue clear with tweets like these:
Crime is out of control, and rapidly getting worse. Look what is going on in Chicago and our inner cities. Not good!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2016
If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2016
Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago. What is going on there - totally out of control. Chicago needs help!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2017
Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
Comments like these have not been received kindly by city officials and residents alike who feel that the president's comments portray the city as unrealistically violent. They feel the publicity has had a negative impact on the city's image. The city has even allowed an artist to install a statue that reads "REAL FAKE" at the intersection of North Wabash Avenue and East Upper Wacker Drive near Trump Tower. City officials have said that they did not permit the installation as an insult the president, but it is difficult to believe that the placement and message of the sculpture is mere coincidence. Furthermore, a Chicago artist planned to anchor giant, golden pig balloons in the Chicago River in front of Trump Tower to obscure the sign. The artist claimed that the purpose of the balloons is to obscure the gaudy golden letters that ruin an otherwise attractive building. The city did not approve the placement of the pigs, as it would obstruct barge traffic on the river, but otherwise had no issue with it. It seems unlikely that Chicago's obstruction and belittlement of Trump Tower is mere coincidence, after his unflattering comments about the city.
Despite the frequency of his criticism, little has been said about his comments to refute them. In fact, Chicago's response has received more attention than the comments themselves. Why might this be? Research has shown that, while Trump's figures may not match those reported by the city of Chicago, he is not far off. In fact, he actually underestimated the number of homicides in 2016 according to city records. Trump tweeted that there were 762 murders in Chicago last year, while city records show the actual number to be 781. This marks an increase over 2015's 499 of 56.5 percent, as well as an increase of 51.7 percent over the city's average murder rate since 2001. Trump's "facts" may not be accurate, but in this instance he was correct: Chicago has seen a substantial increase in violence.
As of July 26, 2017, there were 401 murders in the city. Last year, the year with the highest murder rate since 2001, there were only 386 murders by July 26. Chicago is on track to top that record, making 2017 the bloodiest year of the twenty-first century.
Below are all of Chicago's recorded homicides in 2017 (as of July 26, 2017). This data can also be found at the city of Chicago's data portal.
Total Per Month:
|Date||Address||Description||Secondary Description||Location||Arrest Made?|