Chicago police have linked to rising violence to bail reform. New research disputes their claim. Over the summer, the city’s police chief said Chicago could curb surging crime if judges kept people in jail while awaiting trial. It’s been a common refrain from police and city leaders since surrounding Cook County instituted reforms in 2017. But a new report from Loyola University researchers found that of the 9,133 people released in the six months after the reforms, just three were subsequently charged with homicide and five with aggravated battery using a gun (often the charge for a non-fatal shooting). That same year, Chicago had nearly 2,400 shootings and more than 550 homicides overall. “We should be concerned [when] homicides and shootings increase or spike. But I think oftentimes we’re looking for really simple answers to why those things are occurring,” one of the study's authors said. “The likelihood of violent crime among pretrial releases is extremely low.” Related: Officials in New York City have similarly tied bail reform to rising violence, even as the NYPD’s own data undercut that narrative.
So you see, it really is the guns, not the people.