Chicago’s crime wave has continued into 2021, with shootings hitting a four-year high in March according to Chicago Police Department statistics released earlier this week. Four officers were shot in March alone.
The numbers echo an ongoing national trend, with crime — and particularly violent crime — continuing to spike in the months following the release of coronavirus-related lockdowns.
“The Chicago Police’s Monthly Crime Newsletter on city shootings and crime statistics reported the increases in both the number of shootings and the number of shooting victims in March compared to the same month in the previous three years,” per CNN.
This spike is despite cold weather, which typically ramps down crime in Chicago during the winter months.
“For 2021, there were 233 shooting incidents and 298 shooting victims, police data show,” the outlet noted based on CPD’s numbers. “In March of 2020, there were 146 shootings and 175 victims; in March 2019 there were 136 shooting incidents and 165 victims; and in 2018 there were also 136 shootings, with 151 victims.”
That is a 40% jump over March of 2021.
Homicides are also up by 33%, though the number of carjackings are down slightly after hitting a mid-winter peak and spiking in 2020, according to Chicago’s ABC affiliate. The number of carjackings is still higher than in March of 2020, but there were 33% fewer carjackings in March of 2021 than in February.
Just last weekend, 34 people were shot and eight died in incidents across the city, but largely on Chicago’s south and west sides, where violence has been high since last year. Seven people were killed on Easter Sunday, per the Chicago Sun-Times.
Chicago’s cops have had a particularly difficult year, with four police officers shot in March alone.
“CPD also said four police officers were shot last month. So far this year, officers have been shot at 21 times, according to Chicago police. Nine officers were shot at within this same three-month span in 2020, police said,” per ABC Chicago.
Rates of violence remain high across the country after spiking in 2020, and in many cities like Chicago, the crime wave shows few signs of abating.
“Major American cities saw a 33% increase in homicides last year as a pandemic swept across the country, millions of people joined protests against racial injustice and police brutality, and the economy collapsed under the weight of the pandemic — a crime surge that has continued into the first quarter of this year,” per another report from CNN.
“Sixty-three of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw increases in at least one category of violent crimes in 2020, which include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, according to a report produced by the Major Cities Chiefs Association,” the outlet reported.
For the first time, it seems, CNN and other major news outlets are recognizing how the summer’s anti-racism protests had an effect on policing. In its report on Chicago’s increase, CNN specifically cites “de-policing in major cities after protests that called for abolition of police departments” as one possible reason crime is so high.