DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – After crunching the numbers and then double checking them 2 NEWS has learned Dayton’s murder rate per capita is higher than Chicago’s.
Chicago is known across the country for it’s high murder rate from the city’s mayor to the White House. It’s homicide rate for 2016 is the highest it’s been in a decade, but based on population Dayton’s is higher.
Here’s a breakdown of the math:
42 (homicides in Dayton) divided by 140, 599 (population, according to census.gov) and multiplied by 100,000 = 29.8 per every 100,000 people. Chicago’s murder rate is 28.
Darren Byrd and Marlon Shackelford work for Dayton’s Human Relations Council tracking down at-risk teenagers to convince them violence isn’t the answer. Both agree the numbers don’t surprise them.
“It’s disgusting to me, it’s real disgusting and it’s unnerving,” said Byrd.
“My first reaction was, ‘I told ya’ll this was going to happen,'” said Shackelford.
Both grew up in Dayton and say as teenagers themselves they were living a life of crime until they decided to turn things around.
“I had a kid and I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I came back because I was a part of tearing the city up years ago,” said Byrd.
In an interview two weeks ago, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said bringing the murder rate down in 2017 is one of his top priorities. After 2 NEWS compared the homicide numbers to Chicago we asked Biehl what he thought. In an e-mail he said the following:
“As has been previously reported, the City of Dayton had 42 homicides in 2016. Through investigations, some of those cases could potentially be deemed justifiable homicides, so the number could ultimately end up at 39. Whatever the final number, it will compare statistically to the per capita homicide rate in Chicago.
However, it is important to note that homicide is the smallest portion of all Part 1 Violent Crime Involving Weapons, and a one year increase is not indicative of the safety of our city. When looking at all Part 1 Violent Crime Involving Weapons (see attached graph #1) there’s been a steep downward trend over the past eight years, with a slight increase last year. Even with that increase, Part 1 Violent Crime Involving Weapons in Dayton is down 25% from 2008.
It also bears pointing out that unlike Chicago, Dayton saw a decrease in 2016 in Part 1 Violent Crimes Involving Weapons Resulting in Injuries (see graph #2), unfortunately more people succumbed to those injuries. This does not take away from the fact that these are irrevocable crimes with lives lost and families devastated. The Dayton Police Department Homicide Unit has been able to solve nearly 80% of homicides that occurred in 2016 and will continue to work to bring those responsible for unsolved crimes to justice.”
Byrd and Shackelford believe the responsibility doesn’t fall on law enforcement alone.
“We have to do more work as a community. We have to be willing to take back every block,” said Shackelford.
The murder capital of the U.S. is listed as St. Louis, Missouri, according to CNN.