Homicide in Chicago from 1870 – 1930

This database, developed by Professor Leigh Bienen and her colleagues at the Northwestern University School of Law and the School of Communication, houses “a rich log of more than 11,000 homicides maintained consistently and without interruption by the Chicago Police Department over the course of 60 years, from 1870 to 1930. The fact that these records were kept without interruption by a single institutional record keeper makes these files an important new resource for the study of homicide, crime, urban development, and the police themselves. The records are a lens through which to view the history of the city of Chicago during a period of extraordinary social, economic and political development. Because these crimes became cases, these records are also the foundation for a study of courts and legal institutions. The police and their operations were inextricable from those they answered to, the mayor and alderman, ward politicians, and the citizens of Chicago. Thus the records offer an opportunity to study the rule of law, or its absence.”

The interactive database offers a wide variety of searching options including searching by keyword, case number, offense date, defendant, victim, circumstance and victim/defendant relationship, etc.

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