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New research by the Violence Prevention Research Program found that alcohol may be a better predictor of future criminal behavior than simply looking to see if the a person has a criminal history.

Alcohol Use And Crime

For the study, researchers in in California examined data on more than 4,000 handgun buyers in the state between 1977 and 1991. Researchers looked at criminal histories of gun buyers beginning 15 days after they purchased their firearm. They then compared the data to gun owners who had previous convictions for alcohol-related crimes, like driving under the influence, drunken disorderly conduct, public intoxication, etc.

What they found is that individuals with prior alcohol-related convictions were  between four and five times as likely as people with no criminal histories to be arrested for a future violent or firearm-related crime. Conversely, being arrested for previous violent or non-violent crimes was a weak predictor of future crime likelihood. Researchers concluded that this means alcohol use may be a better predictor of future criminal activity than having previous convictions.


ShotSpotter ChicagoThere’s no question that Chicago has a huge problem with gun violence. In 2016 there were 762 homicides in the city, more than New York City and Los Angeles had combined. There has been no downturn in violence as the calendar has turned to 2017, but police are hoping high-tech solutions may help curb the problem.

ShotSpotter Technology

Last week, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson shared how police are now relying on a high tech system known as ShotSpotter to help identify where gunshots are occurring in real time so that officers can be dispatched to the area and hopefully catch the suspects. They are testing the systems in two neighborhoods that account for a large amount of gun violence, as more than a third of the homicides happened in one South Side and one West Side neighborhood.

ShotSpotter is a system that works by pinpointing gunfire location using a collection of sensors placed throughout the area. More than 100 sensors were installed in each of the two neighborhoods, and they have the capability of recording when a gunshot is fired. Based on which sensors are pinged and at what sound level they register, the system can pinpoint the expected location of the shot and relay this information to officers within minutes of the shooting.


2016 will be a year to remember for Chicago. The high point for many Chicagoans will be the World Series victory by the Cubs – their first championship in more than 100 years. But the city also hit a low point in 2016, as the homicide count grew to 762 before the calendar turned.

762 homicides is problematic for a number of reasons. That number means the city averaged more than two homicides a day for an entire year. That number represents the most killings the city has seen in a calendar year in two decades. That number is more than the number of homicides in New York City and Los Angeles, combined.

Shootings Spike In 2016

According to the data, Chicago saw roughly 1,100 more shooting incidents in 2016 than it did a year prior. Not surprisingly, the homicide total grew as well, as the 762 homicides represented a huge spike from 2015 when there were 485 reported homicides. Police said a part of the problem is the influx of illegal weapons into the city, as police seized 20 percent more illegal firearms in 2016 than in 2015.

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