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Study highlights great disparity in crime rates among Chicago neighborhoods

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The year 2013 is set to be a historic year for Chicago. City officials expect to finish the year with a record low murder rate. For a city who has struggled with violence many years, this announcement is truly an accomplishment. A recent study conducted by the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University confirmed that Chicago's crime rate has been drastically declining in the past four years. By the end of this year, Chicago is expected to see its lowest murder rate since 1972. However, the same study also highlighted a problem that Chicago has faced for many years. While the crime rate declines in some neighborhoods, it remains consistent in other neighborhoods.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy have worked diligently to reduce the overall crime rate through the use of various methodologies, such as installing more Police Observation Devices, increasing the police force in certain communities, conducting firearms seizures, expanding after school programs to keep kids off the streets and many others. Even with such improvements, Chicago remains a divided city when it comes to crime.

Only 16 neighborhoods out of 77 saw drastic crime rate declines in the past two years. Other areas, especially communities in the West and South sides of Chicago remained with the same crime rates.

The results of the study have caused great debate among city officials. Officials with jurisdiction in the West and South sides of Chicago blame the disparity in crime rates on the distribution of wealth across the city. Services in neighborhoods are funded through taxes received from residents in those communities. Officials believe that if nothing is done to help residents in the communities, then the problem will continue to exist.

The disparity in crime rates is expected to decline as more programs are created to reduce violence even more. Government officials believe the Yale study demonstrated a great victory for Chicago law enforcement, but also highlighted work that remains unfinished.



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