Chicago saw its deadliest September in a quarter-century last month with 81 homicides, and at least three more people were killed in a rash of gun violence over the weekend — an ominous sign for October.
The Chicago Tribune reports that last month, there were 81 homicides in the city of Chicago, just two fewer than there were in the same month in 1993 when the city suffered through 83 homicides. The record, the Tribune notes, was set in 1992, during the heat of a gang war, when 109 people lost their lives to violence.
Previously, the city was comparing 2020’s numbers to 2016, when the city was also in the midst of a violent gang war and casualties were high. Now, the city seems poised to break those records.
“Overall, homicides are up 50% from last year as 2020 continues to be on pace as deadlier than 2016 when the city was hit with its worst violence since the 1990s,” the Tribune noted.
“So far this year, there have been 588 homicides in Chicago compared with 392 last year, according to police statistics. The data does not include killings that occurred in self-defense or on expressways. More than 3,100 people have been shot this year, compared with just under 2,000 during the first nine months of 2019, a 56% jump, the statistics show,” the outlet continued.
Like many major cities, Chicago saw an explosion in violence following the end of coronavirus-related restrictions and trailing the start of massive, national anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests. Other cities that played host to large protests, including New York City and Minneapolis, Minnesota, are now home to similar homicide spikes, though police in all three cities report that crime, overall, is down.
Chicago’s police department tried to put September’s violence in context Monday, noting that although it was the most violent September in 25 years, casualties are actually down compared to earlier summer months.
“At least 400 people were shot across the city last month,” the Tribune continued. “But the Police Department noted that the number of both shooting incidents and victims was down 19% in September, compared with August. There were also declines in robbery, theft, and vehicle theft.”
“This has been an unprecedented year in policing, as a global pandemic and civil unrest have converged to present law enforcement with a crisis on multiple fronts,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown. “And yet, our officers remain committed to improving public safety despite these challenges. Murders and shootings continue to decline as we make inroads within the community and adjust our strategies to prevent crime before it occurs.”
The city also remains hopeful that cooler weather will usher in a further decline in violence. Over the weekend, though, 3 people were killed and 34 were shot in the city, per Fox News. Two of the three fatal shootings happened in the same south side neighborhood within hours of each other according to police reports.