US & Canada

Reality Check: Is Trump right on US murder rate?

Donald Trump saying: The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.

The claim: The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century. In Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher.

Reality Check verdict: The increase in the number of murders in the US from 2014 to 2015 was indeed the biggest since 1971, but the murder rate went up by more in 1979, 1986 and 1990.

In Chicago, there were 4,331 shooting victims and 762 murders in 2016, more than in any other US city.

But both the US murder rate and that of Chicago have fallen slightly in the first two months of this year compared with the same period of 2016.

On 28 February, President Trump addressed a joint session in Congress for the first time.

During the speech, he made a claim about the murder rate in the US.

In 2015, there were 15,696 murders in the United States, according to statistics provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Uniform Crime Reports.

This figure represents an increase of 10.8% from 2014, when 14,164 murders were reported. It is the largest increase since 1971, almost 50 years ago.

But the murder rate went up by 0.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is not the biggest for half a century - there were bigger rises in 1979, 1986 and 1990.

The overall trend of the number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants has decreased over the past two decades since the peak in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s.

The rate of murders was highest in 1980, when it reached 10.2 per 100,000 of population.

In the late 1990s, the murder rate sharply declined, to a level similar to those of the mid-1960s - 5.6 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The 4.9 murder rate in 2015 was the same as it was in 1964.

'Carnage' in Chicago

In his address to Congress, President Trump also mentioned Chicago's recent shootings and murder rate, as he has done before.

He said 4,000 people were shot in the city last year alone.

Indeed, Chicago police registered 3,550 shooting incidents, and 4,331 shooting victims in 2016.

This was an increase of 1,128 shooting incidents on the previous year.

There were 762 murders in Chicago in 2016, more than any other American city and an increase of 275 from 2015.

Five police districts on the south and west sides of the city accounted for nearly two-thirds (65%) of the increase in murders.

The University of Chicago's Crime Lab produced a report on the sharp increase in homicides in the city during 2016.

It noted the conditions that historically may have contributed to the high murder rate and prevalence of gun crime, such as poverty and the proximity of Illinois to states with more relaxed gun laws.

According to the most up-to-date Chicago Police Department data for 2017, there have been 94 murders between the start of the year and the end of February 2017.

This is fewer than the 98 recorded in the same time period in 2016.

In the first two month of 2017 there have been 399 shooting incidents, also a slight fall on the 404 recorded in the same period in 2016.


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