Thursday night’s gang-related mass shooting in Chicago that left a three-year-old boy fighting for life and 12 others wounded seemed a harsh emphasis of Chicago’s new title as the murder capital of the United States.
But it is the relatively small, economically beleaguered city of Flint, Mich. that is actually the most dangerous municipality in the country.
According the newest batch of FBI statistics, Chicago’s 500 murders pushed it past last year’s champion New York City.
New York reduced its total homicides from 515 in 2011 to 419 in 2012.
But New York has three times as many people as Chicago, making the Second City a place where an individual is far more likely to be murdered than in New York.
Measured by murder rate -- the number of homicides compared to population -- 2012’s most deadly city is Flint, hometown of documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. The economic devastation experienced by Flint after a series of plant closings was the subject of Moore’s first major film, Roger and Me.
One of the results of that devastation has been an increase in crime. Last year, according to the FBI stats, the city of 101,632 residents saw 63 murders -- a rate of one homicide per every 1, 613 residents.
Only one out of every 19,783 New Yorkers was murdered last year.
In the total murder standings, Detroit, Philadelphia and Los Angeles rounded out the top five with 386, 331 and 299 respectively.
The FBI cautions the media against “ranking” cities based on crime stats.
“Rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region,” the FBI warns in a press release accompanying the crime report. “Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents.”
Overal violent crime in the United States edged up slightly last year with a total of 1,214,462 violent crimes. Broken down by category, murder and non-negligent manslaughter rose 1.1 percent while rape was up just 0.2 percent. Aggravated assaults increased 1.1 percent but robberies ticked downward by a slight 0.1 percent.
SOURCES: FBI, Washington Post, CBS News, CNN, Wikipedia, Yahoo News