The city of Chicago recorded 762 homicides in 2016 — an average of two murders per day, the most killings in the city for two decades and more than New York and Los Angeles combined.
The nation’s third largest city also saw 1,100 more shooting incidents than it did in 2015, according to statistics released by the Chicago Police Department that underlined a story of bloodshed that has put Chicago at the center of a national dialogue about gun violence.
The numbers released Sunday are staggering, even for those following the steady news accounts of weekends ending with dozens of shootings and monthly death tolls that hadn’t been seen in years. The increase in 2016 homicides compared to 2015, when 485 were reported, is the largest spike in 60 years.
Police and city officials have lamented the flood of illegal guns into the city, and the crime statistics appeared to support their claims: Police recovered 8,300 illegal guns in 2015, a 20 percent from the previous year.
The bulk of the deaths and shooting incidents, which jumped from 2,426 in 2015 to 3,550 last year, occurred in only five neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides, all poor and predominantly black areas where gangs are most active. Police said the shootings in those areas generally wasn’t random, with more than 80 percent of the victims having previously been identified by police as more susceptible because of their gang ties or past arrests.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was expected to discuss the newly released statistics Sunday afternoon.
The city has scrambled to address the violence. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last year that 1,000 officers would be added to the police department. At the same time, police officials have been trying to figure out why homicides and shootings — which began climbing the year before — suddenly surged.
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SOURCE: Fox News, The Associated Press