Two-Thirds of Murders in Dem Stronghold of Chicago Go Unsolved

A crime scene in Chicago, 2021 (Getty Images)
May 3, 2023

Two out of three murders committed in Chicago go unsolved, according to an NPR report that comes as the city prepares to welcome a new mayor who has called for defunding the police.

Only 33 percent of homicides led to an arrest between 2016 and 2020, NPR reported, compared with the national clearance rate of around 50 percent. New York City had a clearance rate around 90 percent in the years before the pandemic, and 60 percent in 2020. Los Angeles had a clearance rate of 70 percent in 2019. 

Unsolved homicides may have played a role in Democratic mayor Lori Lightfoot's February loss in her bid for reelection. Lightfoot was the first mayor to lose reelection in 40 years. Crime was the greatest concern on voters' minds going into the election. Two-thirds of respondents in one poll said they feel unsafe in the city. 

But voters elected to replace Lightfoot with Brandon Johnson, a "Defund the Police" supporter and the only candidate who opposed filling the 1,600 vacancies in the Chicago Police Department. He said in 2019 that the city should "go to neighborhoods and provide supports to community, not just with law enforcement."

Chicago's homicide rate has skyrocketed nearly 40 percent since Lightfoot took office in 2019, watchdog group Wirepoints found

Walmart in April announced the closure of four Chicago stores, affecting hundreds of workers and tens of thousands of residents who already face difficulty in obtaining food. The company pointed to revenue losses that "nearly doubled in just the last five years." The company said that collectively the city’s Walmarts have not been profitable in the last 17 years. 

Illinois ranks second in the nation for most residents leaving, with one resident leaving the state every 3 minutes and 43 seconds.