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One city largely responsible for the increased murder rate

New Jersey residents have likely heard politicians talking about crime rates being out of control as the November 2016 elections draw near. While the murder rate in the U.S. is expected to go up this year, it is largely driven by the city of Chicago. The rest of the nation has violent crime rates that are near historic lows.

The Brennan Center for Justice reports that Chicago is responsible for almost half of the percentage increase attributable to murders in 2016. Nationally, the murder rate is expected to rise by 13.1 percent this year. That expected increase includes Chicago's murders. According to the Chicago Tribune, the city had experienced 528 murders through mid-September.

The problems in Chicago can be attributed to a combination of factors. The city is slow to close cases, ranking near the bottom for its efficiency. It also has had funding for violent crime prevention programs cut. The city has lost almost 300 detectives since 2008, meaning that there are fewer investigators available to solve murders. The police superintendent in Chicago blames street gangs for a majority of the murders. There is a cultural issue in Chicago with poverty leading to increased rates of violent crime.

Murder charges carry severe penalties if a conviction is obtained. People who are convicted of murder may spend up to the remainder of their lives in prison. Those who are facing these charges may want to have the representation of a criminal defense attorney who has experience with these types of cases. Counsel might negotiate with the prosecutors, presenting mitigating evidence as needed to try to secure favorable disposition for their clients.

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