A new FiveThirtyEight analysis of crime statistics out of Chicago reveals the recent spike in gun violence in the Windy City is directly related to the release of a video that shows the police shooting of Laquan McDonald and the protests, activism and reforms that followed shortly thereafter. The analysis provides strong evidence in support of the idea that Chicago is experiencing its own “Ferguson Effect” — a theory that says the recent increase in violent crime is the result of rank-and-file officers taking a less proactive approach to policing due to increased anti-police sentiment.
According to the FiveThirtyEight analysis, crime data shows 175 homicides and 675 nonfatal shootings incidents occurred in Chicago over the time period beginning December 1, 2015 and ending on March 31, 2016 (the McDonald shooting video was released on November 24, 2015). This reflects a 48% percent increase in homicides and a 73% increase in nonfatal shootings from the same time period one-year ago. FiveThirtyEight describes the statistical variations from year to year as too significant to be “explained by seasonal [weather] fluctuations or chance.”