Chicago Passes 500 Homicides This Year

(Carlballou/Dreamstime)

Chicago has surpassed 500 killings so far this year, far outpacing the number of homicides in the city by this time last year.

The city has seen 505 homicides this year, up from 333 by this point last year, Chicago Police said.

Shootings have also spiked this year to 2,152, compared with 1,413 by this time in 2019.

The surge in violence comes as Chicago continues to by rocked by protests and riots following the May death in police custody of George Floyd, and as the city continues to weather the coronavirus pandemic.

Chicago’s worst year for killings was 1974, when the city recorded 970 homicides. The second worst year was 943 homicides in 1992.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said in May just weeks after he became the city’s top cop that his “moon shot” goal was for homicides to fall below 300 a year in Chicago.

Over the weekend, at least 10 people were killed and 40 more people were injured by gun violence. Two police officers were injured after exchanging gunfire with an armed teen in the early hours of Sunday morning. This year, 51 Chicago police officers have been shot at, and ten officers have been hit, Brown said Monday.

“I think there’s more than a suggestion that people are seeking to do harm to cops,” Brown said.

At the end of July, Brown deployed police response teams to address the uptick in violence, a move he said has brought homicides down by 50 percent since the unrest began. The officers who were shot over the weekend were members of the response teams.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in late July that she would not allow President Trump to “foolishly deploy” federal agents to the streets of Chicago but confirmed that federal agents would be arriving to assist in prosecuting violent criminals.

“I’ve been very clear that we welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship, we do not welcome authoritarianism, and we do not welcome unconstitutional arrest and detainment of our residents,” Lightfoot said. “That is something we will not tolerate.”

“Perhaps no citizens have suffered more from the menace of violent crime than the wonderful people of Chicago,” Trump said in announcing the deployment of federal agents to the city.

Violent crime has spiked in other major cities around the country as well since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, spurred by an economic recession and unrest that arose from protests against police brutality. Chicago has seen the most dramatic spike in homicides as well as the highest number of killings, with Philadelphia and New York City just behind among major cities in the total number of homicides.