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Murder rate up in Illinois but down elsewhere

In Illinois, the murder rate is on the rise while throughout the rest of the country, it is going down. In fact, the murder rate in Chicago is so high that it is driving up the rate nationwide. As of the morning of Sept. 19, there had been more than 500 homicides in the city. In 2015, the total number of homicides was 491. More than a 13 percent increase is expected in 2016.

There are a number of reasons for the increase. The police superintendent said poverty has led to an increase in gangs and violence. A report by the Brennan Center for Justice found a similar correlation. Furthermore, funds for an anti-violence program were cut by the state, and since 2008, nearly 300 detectives have left the police force.

The District of Columbia, Baltimore and Houston are other cities that had higher rates of homicide along with high rates of poverty. This also contributed to the nationwide increase in the murder rate, but that rate has dropped this year in both the District of Columbia and Baltimore. The Brennan Center report said that outside of Chicago, crime has hit its lowest rate in roughly three decades.

A person who is facing a serious charge such as murder is still entitled to a fair trial, and they may have a number of options available to them under criminal law. For example, the evidence against them might be based on eyewitness accounts, and doubt can be raised about the accuracy of those accounts during the trial. If evidence was gathered in a way that violated a person's rights, the case could be dismissed. Another option might be a plea bargain. In a plea bargain, instead of going to trial, a person pleads guilty to lesser charges and usually receives a lighter sentence.

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