March 21st, 2013
10:47 AM ET

Tracking homicides case by case

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @libbylewiscnn

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Chicago has the highest homicide rate in the nation with over 500 reported murders last year. Such murders are about to get easier for Chicagoans to track. In about a week, the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper will roll out its version of Homicide Watch. The paper’s licensed the software of the award-winning website, Homicide Watch D.C., one that tracks every single homicide case in the city.

Craig Newman, the Sun-Times’ managing editor, said the paper wants to deal differently with what he calls a public health epidemic in Chicago:

[5:26] "We have too many young people killing young people and disenfranchised communities all over the city. The idea behind Homicide Watch is that it’s reporting these crimes, but not casting any judgment. Whether it’s a gang crime, or a crime of passion or a run-of-the-mill homicide, it’s a place where all the facts are laid bare.
And people can have a place to have a community, and the survivors can talk to each other and people can interact."

Homicide Watch D.C. is a labor of love created by crime journalist Laura Amico and her husband Chris. For now, it’s staffed by interns funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

Laura Amico couldn’t find a job in the work she loves – crime reporting – so she started the website to provide the nitty-gritty information on homicide cases and create a community forum for the people hit hardest.

Juanita Coghill posts on Homicide Watch DC to help keep her son’s case alive. Her son, Henry Kelly, was shot and killed in an alley in D.C. in March 2011. His murder hasn’t been solved.

[4:35] "I love Homicide Watch because they showcase every murder in DC and not just certain cases…I like the way theye showcase the hearings for the family to keep the memory alive. I feel like I have a voice through Homicide Watch."

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Filed under: Behavior • Crime • Culture • Justice • Media • Soundwaves • Technology
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. jjsdajfjasdklj

    I think that clastering could be used in case of serial murder.

    March 27, 2013 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dr.3AD5

    All those gun control laws sure do keep people from killing each other in Chicago huh.

    March 22, 2013 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr Tom

      Local gun control laws do not work well when you have lax laws in nearby jurisdictions (Indiana). They have worked better in NYC because NY state and NJ have fairly strict laws as well.

      March 22, 2013 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
      • Lou Salerno

        IIf one wants to purchase a gun legally, one must do it in ones state of residence. It is already illegal, and has been for years, to purchase a handgun in any state other than your *home* state. It does not matter if NY & NJ have strict guns laws or not. Criminals and those who are criminally inclined, by definition do not CARE about laws to begin with and get their guns *illegally* regardless of the "strictness", or lack thereof, of local laws.

        March 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
        • Dr Tom

          Most guns are originally sold legally. It is quite easy for persons who live in Indiana to buy guns legally and drive up to Chicago to sell them illegally. This is at least a little harder in NYC. There are many reasons why gun crime is higher is Chicago than NYC, but ease of purchase (illegally) is one of them. Guns laws do work effectively to decrease the amount of guns in the hands of criminals. Otherwise, all criminals would be going around with fully automatic "Tommy" guns like many were in the 30's before they were outlawed. Only a few criminals have these now. Lastly, persons using guns violently were not criminals until they used the gun. Typically a gun crime is used in the spur of the moment to shoot a relative or oneself. Some of these people have mental issues which a proper background check would pick up. Others use a gun improperly stored by another family member, which a requirement for gun safes would help prevent.

          March 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dr.3AD5

        I would like to point out Mexico as a good example of what gun control actually looks like. Criminals will always be able to acquire weapons trough illegal means from somewhere in the world and law abiding people will pay with there lives.

        March 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Leopard2a1

        Hey DrTom: Might wanna check crime stats before you say NYC solved their problem. Stop and frisk has helped (although you could argue this is dangerous becuz it allows police to stop you basically if you 'look' like a criminal) but I find a large part of it being gentrification in that city. They push out many from the poorer communities and they move elsewhere nearby. Unfortunately with some of those poor come the trouble makers. Two examples I want to give:

        1) I live in a little city on the fringe of the NY metro area called Middletown. The past decade has seen a 100+% increase of hispanics to this area which is awesome (resturaunts, stores, etc diversify) however crime (yes shootings and murders) have increased quite a bit..and not just here which brings me to my second point...

        2) Surrounding communities have had crime along with murders still at or increasing the past decade (See FBI's crime reports to verify). Newark, NJ – Increased crime. Patterson, Nj – Increased crime. Spring Valley, NY – Increased crime. Bridgeport, CT – Increased crime. Newburgh, NY – now up there with cities considered murder capitals of US. Middletown, NY – Increased crime. All of these places are in the surrounding metro area, have trains to the city, and are filled with transplants from the city. I would venture to say NYC did a good job sweeping out their problems on the surrounding communities. Strict gun laws did nothing and will do nothing to stop crime if someone's going to go through with it

        Even if you managed to take ALL weapons away in the US we have 2 neighbors that will have guns and where theres a demand supply will folow. Even shipments from overseas. Many countries in Africa have no manufacturing capabilities in regards to weapons yet some rival the US in % of population armed. Why? Because if people want guns and are willing to pay, they will get through. I say those that break the law should have some of the most severe penalties. You shoot people, sell illegally, and are caught...life-no parole.

        March 27, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mannsj

    Common thread in "most" of the violent acts in major cities (including Chicago) is drugs. Who brings drug violence? Gangs, dropouts and the habitually unemployed. Sure there are other violent offenders from all walks of life, but statistics show that drugs are at the center of the majority of violent acts.

    March 22, 2013 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr Tom

      Do you have a reference for that statement?

      March 22, 2013 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. YTman

    You are disgusting. That last sentence shows every racist fear you've got in your bones for your sixty odd years of life. Thank god old elephants die.

    March 22, 2013 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      let them kill and murder themselves
      it's all about the thinning of the herd!

      March 22, 2013 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      that "fear" is not unfounded and those who deny it are probably in denial of alot of truths.political correctness is not the truth but lies to cover up the realities of Chicago.

      March 22, 2013 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. fiftyfive55

    The crime rate is so high in Chicago that the tribune cannot report,and has publicly announced this policy,the race of criminal suspects because it would expose the fact that 99% of crime in Chicago is by minorities and would probably eventually trigger race riots like we had in the 60s and the 70s.The amount of black on white or mexican on whiye here is astronomical,yet we are being told they are the same as us,and they are not.

    March 22, 2013 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |