CHICAGO (CBS) — Recently, a total of 703 people in Chicago were recently asked by Crain’s and The Daily Line if they feel safe in their own homes.
Two out of three said they feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods.
On Thursday evening, David Olson of the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice at Loyola University Chicago joined CBS 2’s Irika Sargent for an analysis on crime in Chicago and people’s perception of their own safety.
“I think it’s clear and obvious that we’ve seen increases in some of the most serious and most visible crime in the city, so it’s no surprise that people feel less safe. Given the media coverage and the seriousness of these crimes, that’s understandable,” Olson said. “But it’s important to point out that these crimes have increased in cities across the country. It’s not unique to Chicago. And it’s also important to point out that while these are the most serious crimes, not all crimes have increased in the city.”
A surge in violent crime has been seen in particular in the last couple of years through the COVID-19 pandemic. Olson said this reflects a greater social problem.
“I think that what the pandemic’s done is it’s really exposed some of the challenges in communities that a lot of people face. People whose economic stability was tenuous to start with are dealing with even less economic certainty during the pandemic. People who have benefited or had access to social services have had those services cut off or severely limited,” Olson said. “So it’s clear that a lot has changed in communities and what people have access to during the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, some people have told us they are now more aware of their surroundings and have made other behavior changes as a result of the increase in crime. Some have even gone so far as to move out of the city.
Sargent asked Olson are you finding to be the trickle-down effect of the rise in crime. Olson emphasized that an increase in crime is also bad for business in Chicago.
“Crime affects every aspect of people’s lives. It affects the business environment. So the more people fear and see public safety being threatened, they’re going to react in a lot of different ways. People will be less likely to come into the city to go to restaurants and go to shows. As you point out, people will be more wary when they leave their homes and where they travel to,” Olson said. “So it not only affects people’s perceptions of safety and their psyche, but there is clearly economic impact as well on a city with reduced business activity.”
Our own research has found that violent crimes are all up over the last three years in Chicago.
In 2021, there were 25,894 violent crimes reported in Chicago. That is slightly higher than in 2020 and 2019, but within the range of normal crime levels in previous years.