FILE - Lori Lightfoot, 2021 Lollapalooza Music Festival - Day 1

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks on day one of the Lollapalooza Music Festival on Thursday, July 29, 2021, at Grant Park in Chicago. 

(The Center Square) – Illinois continues to outpace the rest of the country for murders and violent crime.

According to the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, there were 9 homicides per 100,000 people, the highest total in a decade. That is compared to 6.5 per 100,000 nationally.

Violent crimes increased as well. Violent crimes in Illinois rose to 425 crimes per 100,000 people, an increase of 2.6%. That was about 7% higher than the national average, while its property crime rate was about 25% higher.

The FBI estimated statewide crime statistics based on reports from 667 of the state’s 935 law enforcement agencies.

Chicago’s issues with violent crime are well known, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot said things are trending in the right direction.

“Crime is not out of control in our city, in fact, crime is on the decline,” Lightfoot said this summer. “All of our major indices show a decline in crime and our homicides and our shootings, year-over-year, are down.”

According to the latest crime figures from the Chicago Police Department, the city had recorded 524 homicides this year as of August 31, an increase of 3% over last year. In the month of August alone, Chicago recorded 78 murders, making it the second deadliest August since 1996.

Crime has been a problem in other areas of the state. Tom McNamara is the Mayor of Rockford, one of the most dangerous cities in Illinois.

“Our police department has really been targeted on the most violent offenders, while simultaneously been putting a tremendous emphasis on engaging our community at every opportunity,” McNamara said.

A study by CBS, based on 2019 data from the FBI, named Peoria the 15th deadliest city in the country with 22.53 murders per 100,000. The situation has not improved. So far in 2021, the city is on track for its highest-single homicide total in more than 20 years.

University of Illinois Police Chief Alice Cary addressed the issue of increasing violence near the U of I campus during a recent Reddit forum.

“It’s not just here in Champaign-Urbana. We’ve seen a lot of communities across the country that are experiencing increases in crime,” said Cary. “I don’t think there will ever be a completely crime-free area but we’re going to do our best to help mitigate some of the crimes on campus.”

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.