• Comparing the murder rates of Memphis and Chicago

    By: Scott Madaus

    Updated:
    While the City of Memphis has had 154 homicides so far this year, a lot of attention is being aimed at the city of Chicago where the Chicago Tribune is reporting there have been 500 homicides this year. 
     
    FOX13's Scott Madaus got the numbers and was digging all day. He discovered that Memphis might be even more dangerous than Chicago.
     
    Compare that with last year's total of 161 for all of 2015, and most agree Memphis is on pace to surpass that. "Wow.... just wow," Memphian Kimberly Woods said. "It's horrible, and it's getting worse."
     
    But while we here in the Mid-South know the dangers here, making national news are the massive numbers coming out of Chicago. 
     
    Eddie Johnson with Chicago Police said, "This year we have a list. 1400 individuals are on that list, and they are the drivers of our gun violence. They are repeat gun offenders."
     
    So far, according to the Chicago Tribune, there have been 500 homicides there.
     
    However, the Chicago Police Department told FOX13 there have been 448.
     
    It begs the question, with 334 homicides separating Memphis and Chicago... Can the two cities be compared?
     
    Dr. Darron Smith, a professor of sociology with the University of Memphis said, by comparing the numbers, it gives a clear view of the actual crime rate in the two cities. "You take whatever crime you're looking at and the total number of any specific crime... you divide it by the population. Then you multiply that by 100,000," he said.
     
    FOX13 checked the numbers, populations, and the number of homicides between the two cities. Despite Chicago being a much larger city, the rate is shocking.
     
    Using Chicago's population of 2.7 million people and dividing that by the year to date homicide number, then multiplying that by 100,000... The homicide rate there is 17.9 per 100,000 people. 
     
    Using Memphis' numbers and the same math... Memphis far exceeds the windy city with 23.5 per 100,000 people. 
     
    All of this means five more people are killed in Memphis per 100,000 than in Chicago. "The rate is the number of instances of any particular crime per 100,000," Smith said.
     
    So, while many agree that there is no indication that the homicide numbers will drop anytime soon, some Memphians said, while they have hope, cutting the numbers does not start on the street. "I think the parents need to take control of the children," Woods said, simply. 
     

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