Chicago Undercounting Murder Rate, ‘Godfather’ Muscles MOODY’S to Rescind Junk-Bond Rating
The record-setting violence in Chicago is even worse than announced as new evidence shows the city suffered 50 more homicides last year than the numbers publicly reported in the past week.
The city posted a decades-high homicide count of 812 in 2016, per the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. That’s 15% greater than the 762 murders reported by the city’s police department.
The discrepancy is largely due to the fact that the county tallies “homicides” while the police number counts “murders.” Murders are defined as violent acts subject to criminal prosecution. Homicides, according to the medical examiner, include instances “when the death of a person comes at the hand of another person. This does not imply that all homicides are murders that would be subject to criminal prosecution.”
The city police count is also lower because it excludes violent, intentional deaths if the act is deemed justified, including police killings of residents.
Per the county’s count, homicides rose 54% in 2016 over 2015 when Chicago had 528 deaths determined to be homicides.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for victims of homicide in Chicago with 725 decedents being felled by at least one gunshot wound.
- City is largest in U.S. company rates below investment grade
- Chicago has already stopped hiring Moody’s to grade deals
Chicago is stepping up its battle with Moody’s Investors Service ahead of a $1.2 billion bond sale next week.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat who pushed through a record tax increase to shore up the city’s finances, asked the company to pull its junk rating on Chicago’s debt, saying it’s exaggerating the risks to bondholders and failing to recognize steps he’s taken. Chicago has already stopped hiring Moody’s to rate new bond deals, relying instead on rivals S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings that continue to consider its debt investment grade.
“It has become increasingly clear that Moody’s rating methodology and agenda are far from objective and independent,” Emanuel said in a Dec. 8 letter to Moody’s Chief Executive Officer Raymond McDaniel that was released by the city. “Your current rating does not accurately reflect the city’s credit or our ability to pay debt service when due.”