(Brett Rowland, The Center Square) Chicago recorded 697 total homicides in 2022, far more than any other city in the United States, but New Orleans had the highest murder rate per capita, according to a new report from a nonprofit research group.
Chicago had more total homicides in 2022 than Philadelphia (516), New York City (438), Houston (435) and Los Angeles (382), which rounded out the top five, according to a report from Wirepoints, an Illinois-based research and news organization that surveyed 2022 crime data from 75 of the largest U.S. cities.
New Orleans had the highest homicide rate in the nation in 2022 with 74.3 homicides per 100,000 people. It was followed by St. Louis (68.2), Baltimore (58.1), Detroit (48.9) and Memphis (45.9), Wirepoints found.
The total number of homicides and the rates are different ways to look at the same problem, said Ted Dabrowski, president of Wirepoints.
“You can’t ignore when one city has the most murders in the country. Especially 11 years in a row. And so that’s why it’s also really important to look at the total number of homicides. Chicago has almost 700 homicides. A city that’s much, much larger, like New York, has fewer than 500. So your rates matter, but so does the outright number.”
The difference between New York City and Chicago was stark in 2022, Dabrowski said. Chicago, with about 2.7 million residents, reported 697 homicides and a homicide rate of 25.8 per 100,000 people. New York, with about 8.5 million residents, reported 438 homicides and a homicide rate of 5.2 per 100,000 people.
“In Chicago, we’ve got the trifecta of [Mayor] Lori Lightfoot and her anti-policing rhetoric. You’ve got [Cook County State’s Attorney] Kim Foxx and her goal to decriminalize crimes. And you got Tim Evans, the chief judge, who has created a revolving door by not sentencing strictly,” Dabrowski said. “New York is pursuing, generally, a tougher stance on crime.”
Dabrowski said 95% of the homicide victims in Chicago were black or Latino.
The nation’s lowest homicide rates were concentrated in the West, according to the report. The cities with the fewest homicides out of the 75 surveyed were Plano, Texas, and Gilbert, Arizona. Plano reported 1 homicide and Gilbert reported 3.
The safest of the nation’s 75 largest cities by homicide rate was Plano, Texas, with 0.3 homicides per 100,000 people. Plano was followed by Gilbert, Arizona, (1.1), Henderson, Nevada (1.6), Chandler, Arizona (3.2) and San Jose, California (3.6). Of the 10 cities with the lowest homicide rates, all but one were located west of the Mississippi, according to the report.
All but one of the 10 cities with the highest homicide rates were located on or east of the Mississippi River in 2022.
The difference is likely a combination of factors, Dabrowski said.