Chicago's crime rate is down. In 2013, Chicago is about to record its lowest overall crime rate since 1972, and the fewest homicides since 1965. As of December 29th the city had recorded 412 murders, down nearly a hundred from the 507 homicides last year, and less than half the record 970 homicides that were committed in 1974. Although the windy city had developed a reputation in the popular press as an unusually violent city, its homicide rate is near a half century low, and Chicago remains safer than dozens of other US cities. Although the declining crime rate is little consolation for the families directly affected by last year's 412 homicides, the city's violent crime rate is nevertheless decreasing, and that is good news.
Chicago has been the source of controversy because the city's strict gun laws are often blamed for the city's "high crime rate". However, those arguments do not rest on a solid factual basis since Chicago's gun laws were put in place after the city's record homicide year of 1974, and the city's homicide rate has been cut in half since those laws were implemented. Chicago's homicide rate drop has coincided with a national decrease in the crime rate, so the city's gun laws are not necessarily the cause of the decline, but there is no evidence to demonstrate that the city's crime rate has gotten worse since the laws were passed. On the contrary, crime continues to drop in Chicago, and the city is safer now than it has been at any time in the past forty years.