Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mindy Adnot
While Chicago is a beautiful and diverse city, racial segregation and crime are abundant behind the scenes. Ever since the 1900s, housing discrimination has caused a racial divide where most whites live in the North side and most African Americans live in the South side. In 2016, there were 788 reported incidents of crime. Are there geographic trends relating crime to race, what overall crime trends exist, and what other factors impact crime in Chicago? Using datasets from the Chicago Data Portal, I cleaned the data and created visualizations to map out homicides in Chicago, show crime trends over the years with various bar graphs and area plots, show when crimes occur most often, and compare crime with poverty rates and hardship indexes to offer other potential indicators of crime. Results showed that violence and crime do not always correlate because although homicides are more frequent in South Chicago than in North Chicago, the West, which is split white and black, also has high levels of homicide. Other findings show that theft is the most common crime, overall crime rates have decreased over the years, homicide rates have stayed consistent, crime occurs most during summer months at night, and drug crimes and homicides are positively correlated with poverty rates and the hardship index. Since the crime dataset uses longitude and latitude coordinates whereas the census data uses census tracks, it is hard to see exact comparisons between race and crime – possibly explaining the unexpected homicide concentration in West Chicago. Overall, these findings support the possibility that desegregation could lower homicide rates in Chicago.