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The rise in the national murder rate

The sharp rise in homicides in Chicago is contributing to the increased national murder rate. However, because the overall crime rate for the U.S. is very low, according to a report released by the Brennan Center for Justice, North Carolina residents should disregard claims that crime across the nation is rampant.

The primary point of concern in the report is that Chicago's murder rate accounts for almost half of 13.1 percent climb in the national murder rate for 2016. As of Sept. 19, 2016, there were 528 cases of homicide, a figure that exceeds the 491 homicides that were reported for 2015. The homicides for both years include murder and justifiable killings such as self-defense.

The drastic increase in the murder rate is linked to rise in the number of street gangs. Societal issues, such as the effects of living in destitute neighborhoods, are also contributing to the high incidences of murder in the city. According to the report, cities that experienced a 10-year span of high unemployment and significant poverty also had a rise in violence for the last two years.

Additional factors in the city's current state of violence include a significant reduction of law enforcement personnel. Since 2008, almost 300 detectives have left the Chicago Police Department, which has resulted in a crime solving rate that is one of the lowest in the country. Also, much-needed funding from the state for anti-violence programs ended, which contributed to the rise in street violence.

A conviction on a murder charge can of course result in serious penalties, with the possibility of life imprisonment. As a result, those who have been accused of committing a homicide may want to meet with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to determine how best to combat the allegations.

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