Homicide in Chicago, 1870-1930

Leigh Bienen

The Chicago Homicide Project, directed by Leigh Beinen of the Northwestern University School of Law, has complied data on 11,000 homicides from handwritten logs kept by Chicago homicide detectives from 1870 through 1930. The data a complete description are available at the Chicago Homicide Project website.

Randolph Roth and his students in the Criminal Justice History of the United States (History 375) at Ohio State University have been working through the Chicago Tribune to annotate cases in the Chicago Homicide Project database and to find information on additional homicides. To date, they have discovered 30% more homicides, 1879-1885, than appear in the database, and they have revised the descriptions of individual cases where new information came to light after detectives filed their initial homicide reports. The spreadsheets for the revised data on homicides of persons ages 15 and older are available below, but the worksheets on individual cases will be posted at a later date. They currently contain the URLs for particular articles in the Chicago Tribune that are available through Pro-Quest historical newspapers, and that proprietary information must be deleted before the worksheets can be posted. The worksheets will contain, however, the data and page number of each relevant article that appeared in the Tribune.

Chicago homicides, 1879-1885 [xls]

Chicago homicides, 1879-1885 [csv]

Note in the figure below that the annual homicide tallies in the detective reports and the arrest records for Chicago do not coincide, 1874-1920. These tallies (which include murders of infants and children) fall considerably short of the tallies that can be compiled, 1879-1885, from detective reports and articles in the Chicago Tribune (which here include murders of infants and children). It will require similar research to obtain accurate estimates of the homicide rate in Chicago for other years.


[csv] - Some links on this page are to .csv files requiring the use of a database program. If you need these files in a more accessible format, please contact cjrc@osu.edu.

[xls] - Some links on this page are to Microsoft .xls files requiring the use of Microsoft Excel. If you need these files in a more accessible format, please contact cjrc@osu.edu.

 

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