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Rapid City’s January Murder Rate 2.6× Chicago’s; Send in Trump’s Troops?

Rapid City police are investigating the city’s fourth murder in 30 days and the third this January.

Chicago faces its own grim murder stats, with 37 killings so far this month, compared to 51 for all of January 2016. Another source reports 42 homicides in Chicago this month.

President Donald Trump says Chicago’s murder rate warrants some sort of federal intervention:

"send in the Feds!"—more FBI guys? martial law? drone strikes? What do those words mean, Mr. President?
“send in the Feds!”—more FBI guys? martial law? drone strikes? What do those words mean, Mr. President?

Chicago’s population is around 2.7 million. 42 killings this month means one killing per 65,000 people, or 1.5 per 100K.

Rapid City’s population is around 74,000. Three killings this month means one killing per 25,000 people, or 4.1 per 100K.

Rapid City’s murder rate this month is 2.6 times greater than Chicago’s.

If Donald Trump thinks the current “carnage” in Chicago warrants some unspecified deployment of federal forces, then he should find it even more urgent to direct federal forces to intervene in the approaching-treble “carnage” in Rapid City. The South Dakota Senate just invited Trump to visit, so why not ride in with a column of tanks and a brigade of Marines to bring safety and order to Rapid City?

Or does this President only threaten Presidential intervention in law enforcement in places where the majority voted for someone else?

Chicago 2016 Presidential election results: Clinton won blue counties; Trump won red counties. Source:, downloaded 2017.01.25.
Chicago 2016 Presidential election results: Clinton won blue counties; Trump won red counties. Source:, downloaded 2017.01.25.
Pennington County Presidential election results 2016. Trump won straight majorities in 43 of Pennington County's 46 precincts; Trump won pluralities over Clinton in two of the remaining three precincts. Clinton won only Precinct 5-4, in central Rapid City between Skyline Drive and Mount Rushmore Road, 47% to 43%. Source: SD Secretary of State.
Pennington County Presidential election results 2016. Trump won straight majorities in 43 of Pennington County’s 46 precincts; Trump won pluralities over Clinton in two of the remaining three precincts. Clinton won only Precinct 5-4, in central Rapid City between Skyline Drive and Mount Rushmore Road, 47% to 43%. Source: SD Secretary of State.


  1. Daniel Buresh 2017-01-25

    Choosing a small subset of large amount of data can always be easier to fit a certain agenda which is rather misleading. Looking at a slightly large subset of data portrays a different story.

    RC had 2 murders in 2016 per 74000 = 2.7 deaths per 100k people in 2016
    Chicago had 762 murders in 2016 per 2.7 million = 28.2 deaths per 100k people in 2016

    I think arguing that Chicago doesn’t have an issue with murder or gun violence is a losing battle. They have another few thousand shooting victims who don’t die each year. And as their trend sits for their murder rate, it isn’t looking great.

    Total Murders by year in Chicago:
    2011 – 435
    2012 – 516
    2013 – 441
    2014 – 432
    2015 – 492
    2016 – 762

    Now, whether feds move in to Chicago or not, I have no position. I’m just pointing out the math to suggest his motives aren’t probably because Chicago didn’t vote for him.

  2. Porter Lansing 2017-01-25

    Chicago needs gun control and Republicans have cut their funding for years. Blame Congress!!
    ~ Mayor Emanuel said that federal agencies including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives already do help the city, but more could be done. ‘There’s a lot the federal government can do,’ Emanuel said, citing gun control, use of federal resources to track illegal guns and federal prosecutions. ‘And also, fundamentally, in my view, also help fund additional police officers. ‘Over the years the federal government’s stepped back their resources, which we have stepped up. The federal government can be a partner, and to be honest they haven’t been for decades.'”

  3. jerry 2017-01-25

    Punkin head like Reagan are after the guns! Not to worry though, the SDDP has a strong platform for the protection of 2nd Amendment rights. BTW, the only successful effort to take away guns was in California by Ronald Reagan, the same dude that wanted to eliminate Medicare. Damn straight, history repeats itself once again. Both were tee vee actors and both have worked with a chimp.

  4. jerry 2017-01-25

    South Dakota is a red state and with being a red state, you have the serious problems of heroin abuse by its citizens. As mr. grudznick noted some time back, there was a large bust or heroin in Rapid City. Hard to say where this heroin may have come from, but we do know that synthetic heroin is plentiful here in the state and we tend to use it a lot. Heroin use makes for conditions that provoke extreme violence, so there is also an uptick in assaults.

  5. owen reitzel 2017-01-25

    Can you imagine the outrage from the right if Obama had threaten to do this.

  6. Rorschach 2017-01-25

    President Trump is all talk. We all know that you can’t believe a word he says. He has ADHD anyway, so he’s already on to some other topic. Spout and move on. Spout and move on.

  7. El Rayo X 2017-01-25

    If there were only some one from the Chicago area, who had the time, name recognition, respect and clout to bring the gun/gang violence to and end. And if by chance this person was a Democrat, maybe he could show the nation that his party leads by example and solves problems. If only.

  8. Don Coyote 2017-01-25

    @Daniel Buresh: Great analysis. However since Cory has a hunting dog named Dudgeon he wants to make the most of him, so off we go on another snipe hunt.

  9. mike from iowa 2017-01-25

    You don’t hunt snipe with dogs. You take nutjobs and leave them holding the bag.

  10. Rorschach 2017-01-25

    Good point, El Rayo X.

  11. mike from iowa 2017-01-25

    WTF is it with wingnuts and gun stats? These guns are being used as designed- to kill people. That is what you want. That is what you get when you refuse to accept responsibility for putting millions of guns on the streets by lying that Libs are gonna take your guns. You own the gun violence, we will make sure to remind you you own it.

  12. Rorschach 2017-01-25

    Where do the guns come from that are used to kill people all over the country? Some of them come from South Dakota from people leaving guns in their cars – often cars left unlocked at night. Some of them are bought at gun shows by people who are ineligible to buy guns and could not pass a background check if one were required at gun shows.

    I’m a gun owner. I own a whole lot of guns. They are kept locked up unless they are on my person. But clearly we need to impose some responsibility on irresponsible gun owners who leave guns lying around. And surely we need to implement procedures to ensure that ineligible people can’t just walk into a gun show and walk out with guns. The NRA was for universal background checks before it was against them.

  13. jerry 2017-01-25

    The problem with name recognition in Chicago is not a problem. Its name is the NRA. They could clearly step up to the plate and show that the NRA is for gun safety just like it was when I was a little shaver.

  14. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Only DFP could convolute knife murders into a call for gun control. Hey, the one knifing was done with a bayonet on a gun… LET’S ROLL!

    The answer to gun violence might be found in applying any solutions to gun violence to knives. If your solution won’t work with a knife, it won’t work with a gun.

  15. Rorschach 2017-01-25

    I’m sorry, barry, that you don’t share my concern for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill with simple, quick, background checks at gun shows. Are there any measures you do support to keep guns away from criminals and the mentally ill?

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-25

    Oh, come on, Daniel! It’s the Trump era! We don’t rigorously analyze data! We grab a few numbers and say whatever we want to sound tough! Yahoo!

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-25

    Guns? Who said anything about guns? The three murders in Rapid City have all been stabbings. Barry, I’m not calling for gun control here. Again, let’s read the original post and stay in topic.

    The important question here is, What does the President mean when he threatens to “send in the Feds!”? Even the exclamation point seems important in translating that statement. That sounds like a literal insertion of federal personnel, likely armed troops. What would those armed feds do? Would they confiscate guns and knives? Would they stop and frisk citizens? What rules would they follow? What due process would they accord to citizens?

    Possibly related: Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota is asking Trump to send federal troops to protect Dakota Access pipeline workers. Wow—what kind of military/police state are Republicans bringing us? Escape from New York, anyone? Do we need Snake Plisken to rescue us?

  18. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Cory said: “Guns? Who said anything about guns?”
    In order:

    In order of those “called out”; The only one seeking REAL solutions to gun violence.

    Even your premise was proven to be trolling by Daniel.

  19. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-25

    Since the election of that president, George Orwell’s popular book ‘1984’ has risen enough that the publishers have ordered another printing.

  20. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-25

    Barry, read the original post again, Cory said nothing about guns or gun control.
    Gun violence in Chicago is a reality and Trumps threatens to do something about it but doesn’t tell us exactly what that is.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-25

    Barry, when you say DFP, you include me. I said none of the things you said. Be specific in your rebuttals, especially when they are off topic.

  22. barry freed 2017-01-25

    It is a thing banners do when they lump legal self defense killings and suicides with the total gun deaths in an effort to support their failed arguments.

    RC headline+ talk of guns= Trolling

    I think I have explained this to you before. I might have to start charging a fee.

  23. barry freed 2017-01-25

    They interchange the words death and murder to suit their current argument

  24. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Cory, you didn’t cite knife murders in Chicago compared to Rapid. Who is it off topic?

  25. barry freed 2017-01-25

    So are we talking about murders in Rapid or Trump Tweets? Pick one and then attempt to write precisely. You should see the value of the 2nd A as our new President threatens us.
    EXACTLY what it was written for. …and the scariest scenario imaginable.

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-25

    Now, Daniel, more seriously, your critique of basing policy on something more than snapshot stats is fine. Your point actually shows the grave danger of having Donald Trump Presiding by Tweet. He gives snapshot stats that invoke exactly the error you are talking about. He justifies a federal intervention (troops? martial law? metal detectors on I-94? more funding for after-school programs? what?) on the basis to two data points crammed into less than 140 characters. Bloggers may do silly things, but Presidents can’t make threats of this import on Twitter! Presidents need to issue rational, well-documented, well-defined policy statements.

    I don’t think Trump can do that. I don’t think he has the concentration, temperament, or desire to put into words a detailed policy that any policymaker at any level could read, understand, and execute, even after Trump leaves office. Trump thinks running the country just means saying stuff, whatever pops into his head, and people do it. The next day, he’ll say more stuff, and he’ll just keep saying stuff, with no regard to ongoing consistent rules and law. That’s not Presidential leadership; that’s autocracy.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-25

    Nuts to that, Barry. I set the topic: January murder rates in Rapid City and Chicago and Trump’s federal-interventionist threat thereto. I didn’t mention instruments of death. Are you telling me the 42 killings Trump cites are all shootings and do not include murder by other means?

    And if you really want to go ape on Second Amendment (which neither you nor I nor anyone else in this thread has used today as effectively as the 1st Amendment), tell me what happens when Trump troops march into a city and start confiscating guns.

    FiveThirtyEight offers some intelligent analysis of Chicago’s murder rate:

  28. Rorschach 2017-01-25

    You know who else would like the government to enact reasonable measures to keep criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns? Police. Police.

    What are your “REAL solutions to gun violence” barry? Do you have something productive to add?

  29. barry freed 2017-01-25

    ” I didn’t mention instruments of death.” Wrong!
    Then what did Trumps Tweet say?

    You are the one who wants to go ape, or else you wouldn’t troll the trolls. I seek only workable solutions, not feel good nonsense that would only serve Trump’s insanity.

    I will read your link presently. Gird your loins…

  30. barry freed 2017-01-25

    I’m not the one calling for change. That’s up to the one finding fault. Do you have any real solutions or just want to criticize?

  31. Owen 2017-01-25

    I didnt say guns

  32. Rorschach 2017-01-25

    Barry, you wrote, “The only one seeking REAL solutions to gun violence. Barry”.

    I’m asking you what your “REAL solutions to gun violence” are. I proposed mine above.

  33. Darin Larson 2017-01-25

    barry freed, in your example, the felon went before a judge and applied to get his gun rights back and the judge agreed given the man was convicted of a non-violent offense and was getting his life back on track. The process worked. Are you suggesting that violent felons get their gun rights back as a matter of course?

  34. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Sorry Owen.

  35. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Rors, you proposed nothing of value. Please prove your solutions will work or has worked.

  36. Wayne B. 2017-01-25

    If you look at the murder rates by month, you’ll see a lot of variability:

    Looking at such a small snapshot in time is a poor method for comparison. It’s like looking at your vehicle’s fuel economy at a point in time, rather than over the course of a trip; if I’m gunning the gas to get up a big hill when I look, my fuel economy is going to be in the toilet. If I look when I’m coasting downhill, it says 400 mpg. But when I fill up the tank again, I get a true picture – 25.6 mpg.

    Same thing applies here.

    Chicago’s Jan-June 2016 murder rate was 11.6 according to NPR. Rapid City is too small to report UCR, but if it maintains January’s murder rate, then 4.6 is still less than half of Chicago’s 6 month rate.

  37. Rorschach 2017-01-25

    I wanted to believe you when you said you are “The only one seeking REAL solutions to gun violence.” If you truly have nothing to add then there’s no point engaging you.

  38. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Darin, you may have put your foot in it. You don’t even wonder what the felony was, that cost this man his Rights. Third offense ingestion, as in South Dakota? Not paying sales tax for 3 months in a row, even if you don’t owe any? Another SD law.

    Yes, as a matter of course, let’s give all violent felons guns at the prison gates. Way to hyperbolize, man. Good on you. Trolling trolling trolling

  39. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Oh Rors, please say it ain’t true. I am supposed to be successful at something you can’t do. See ya.

  40. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Before you go, good on you for not resorting to name calling in your frustration.

  41. barry freed 2017-01-25

    Solutions are elusive. As with the Felon in Arizona, people change. What would prevent some crimes causes others. I wish I could make guns that would not fire when pointed at a human, but wishes don’t accomplish much.

    So we are left in the real World where screening people is ineffective to the point of being useless. Why did that man shoot the Trooper? We don’t know, but we should be curious because there might be one of many, many solutions that would help. Logic, conversation, and respect are the only hope.

  42. bearcreekbat 2017-01-25

    Then again Chicago’s mayor criticized Trump’s tantrum about the reports of his inauguration crowd numbers a day or so before the tweet threatening federal troops.

  43. Darin Larson 2017-01-25

    barry , you said “Darin, you may have put your foot in it. You don’t even wonder what the felony was, that cost this man his Rights.”

    I did read the story and wondered what cost the man his rights and noted that it was felony theft. That is why I commented on it that the process worked.

    I was asking a question, hence the question mark at the end of the sentence that asked about your stance on felons getting their gun rights back. I was unsure of the point you were trying to make. But maybe I should have known better than to try to have a serious conversation with you.

  44. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-25

    A quick scanning of Barry’s comments and I still have not found what he claims, his solution to gun violence. Not a single comment remotely refers to any gun violence solution.
    Barry is behaving exactly like tRump, when he can’t answer a question, he goes off in a completely different direction.
    What is you want Barry?
    Or do you just want to be disagreeable?

  45. Donald Pay 2017-01-25

    Trump: “I will send in the feds.”
    Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

  46. o 2017-01-25

    To take what action? That is the question I have about the mission of the feds once in Chicago. What action will they take? Finish Trump’s thought: I will send Feds into Chicago, and they will . . .

    Will they invade criminal strongholds and be welcomed as liberators?

    My suggestion for the next tweet-threat: Don’t make me stop this car!

  47. Roger Elgersma 2017-01-25

    do we live in South Dakota because it is such a nice peaceful place?

  48. jerry 2017-01-25

    mfi, good find. So now we know that punkin head only wants the drama, playing everyone for the fool.

  49. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-26

    The real question here is not what solution I propose for violence in Chicago or Rapid City. The real question is what solution is the President of the United States proposing with his threat to “send in the Feds!” No one has made that clear, including, much to what should be the embarrassment of all Americans, the President himself.

    Donald Pay cleverly reminds us to put on our Reagan hats and recall that conservatives and 2nd Amendment defenders ought to be as alarmed by the President’s threat as us liberals.

  50. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-26

    Fordham Law School criminologist notes that Chicago is experiencing an unusual rise in crime.

    That said, compared to other Midwestern cities, even with this rise, Chicago still has a comparatively low homicide rate. It’s less than Milwaukee’s, it’s less that St. Louis’, it’s only slightly more than Detroit’s, it’s less than Baltimore, the other city that people pay a lot of attention to on the east coast. So it’s a big jump, and you don’t want to downplay the size or the significance of addressing that. But it’s also not that Chicago is the most violent city in America, or that this jump has put it in the unprecedented category [John Pfaff, in Katelyn Fossett, “What If Trump Did Send the Feds to Chicago?, Politico, 2017.01.25].

    Pfaff also notes that the Chicago PD already has more personnel than the entire FBI, so “sending in the Feds!” might be a drop in Chicago’s enforcement bucket… again demonstrating that Trump is burping, not formulating coherent policy based on knowledge.

  51. barry freed 2017-01-29

    Mr. Cornelius,
    My answer is love and acceptance.
    There have been 3 knife murders in Rapid this year. Why do you not call for registration and universal background checks for knives?

    The answer in Chicago is: Decriminalize drugs and disarm the Chicago Police. If banning guns is the answer, we will soon know once we disarm the most violent and killingest Police Department in the U.S.

    Treat drugs as the medical challenge they are, without prison, and make the cops put their guns down first. A lot of mothers in high crime, low employment Chicago neighborhoods would applaud the fact that their kids won’t die of gun violence by cops. They will still have bad water and poor schools, but at least they will be alive.

    ” Our cities have turned into jungles
    And corruption is stranglin’ the land
    The police force is watching the people
    And the people just can’t understand”

    “all will pay, that disagree with me”

    Cory, you do a lot of research, read about abandoned Chicago neighborhoods as you listen to Steppenwolf:

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