The decision to commit a crime in Chicago has never been easier. Criminals are almost guaranteed to profit because the chances of getting caught and punished have collapsed to near-zero.
It’s a big reason why the city is on target to hit a post-pandemic high in major crimes in 2023, currently up 32 percent vs. last year. It’s also why crime is unlikely to slow down significantly any time soon. Mayor Brandon Johnson doesn’t show any signs of imposing a higher cost on the city’s criminals. And Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans haven’t changed their soft approach to crime either.
The math is pretty straightforward. A demoralized, restricted police force. Plus a 1 in 20 arrest rate. Plus a high rate of unreported crime. Plus a dismal 911 response rate. Plus a city leadership that’s soft on crime. All that equals a near-zero chance of criminals ever getting punished.
Not until the costs of committing crime go way up – and the equation changes – will Chicagoans see any relief.
The chance of getting arrested in Chicago for a major crime collapsed to just 5 percent in 2022. It was already a low 10 percent just four years ago.
More than 68,000 major crimes were reported in Chicago last year. Only 3,228 of them resulted in arrests. Wirepoints’ calculations are based on the Chicago City Data Portal: Crime – 2001 to Present.
The arrest rate for criminal sexual assault? Just 3 percent. Ditto for Motor Vehicle Thefts. Burglaries were at only 4 percent and Robberies, 5 percent.
For thefts over $500, the chance of getting busted is even lower, at just 1 percent. There were just 201 arrests out of 20,041 crimes reported last year. And you’ll avoid arrest 96 times out of 100 across any form of theft, which The New York Times recently reported.
It gets even better for Chicago criminals. The above data is just for crimes that are actually reported. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that nationally in 2019, “Only 40.9% of violent crimes and 32.5% of household property crimes were reported to authorities.” So the real chance of getting caught is even lower than the 5 percent.
Criminals are far more likely to get verbal support for the crimes they’ve committed, not condemnation, from Mayor Brandon Johnson. Kids just being “silly,” he said of the city’s recent teen takeovers. They’re not “mob actions,” he argued. We captured both those moments here and here.
And there’s the fact that even if criminals do get caught, the chances of being convicted and sentenced are low. State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Chief Judge Tim Evans continue their light treatment of felony weapons charges and issue plea deals on the cheap.
Criminals also know they’re less likely to be detained pre-trial, which Wirepoints covered in Close the revolving door for high-risk offenders in Cook County. There are about 800 more violent defendants out on electronic ankle bracelets at any one time – many of them felons – than there were in 2016. There are thousands more defendants out without any tracking.
With the SAFE-T Act now law, the number of alleged criminals back on the streets before trial will increase further.