News and Commentary

Chicago’s Cook County on Track For Most Homicides in Decades
A Chicago Police decal on a Chicago Police vehicle is on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois on February 6, 2020. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)"n
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

In 2021, Cook County, Illinois has had more than 1,000 homicides — including 777 in Chicago — according to CBS Chicago.

The staggering figure is the highest number of murders recorded for the county since 1994, which recorded 1,141 homicides that year.

According to the local media, “the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said, as of Tuesday, the county’s homicide total stands at 1,009, with more than a month still to go in 2021. Of those, 927 were gun-related homicides.”

As to the victims’ demographics in Cook County CBS2 reported that, “the vast majority of homicide victims have been Black, with 81% of the victims identified as African American. Latinos accounted for about 15% of the county’s homicide victims,” according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Chicago’s rising murder rate in 2021 comes on top of a nationwide increase in homicides in 2020.

The Daily Wire has previously reported that 2019—2020 saw a nearly 30% increase in murders across America:

The murder rate soared to its largest year-over-year increase in 2020 since the United States began tracking the figure in 1960.

FBI crime statistics, scheduled to be released in the bureau’s official report on Monday but published on its website this week, show that the murder rate jumped 29% last year. 

That rise was in part due to the aftermath of the George Floyd riots which swept major American cities. Those riots gave momentum to the “Defund the Police” movement, which hampered city police officers’ ability to do their job financially, as well as a drop in staffing and morale, The Daily Wire noted at the time:

The wave of riots hit almost every major city in the U.S. and caused billions of dollars in damages. According to one estimate, the rioting could cost insurance companies $2 billion in claims, making the Floyd riots the most expensive insurance event in U.S. history.

The corresponding protests against police contributed to a drop in morale among law enforcement and could have been the main driver in a rush of retirements from major police departments in places such as New York City and Newark.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot cut about 614 police positions under the guise of budgetary issues caused by COVID-19. This year, however, Mayor Lightfoot proposed spending nearly $190 million to offset retirements and tackle the criminal problem, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:

Last year, however, Lightfoot balanced her pandemic-ravaged budget in part, by eliminating 614 police vacancies, literally shrinking the Chicago Police Department by attrition.

This year, she’s proposing a $189 million increase in police spending — to just under $1.9 billion — in part, by expanding officer wellness programs. But Budget Director Susie Park has said the “full driver” of that increase is the new police contract, with its 20% pay raise over eight years.

Meanwhile, the tidal wave of police retirements continues with 703 retirements already this year and 987 sworn vacancies.

In Chicago, homicide is not the only factor of  “violent crime” that has increased. In October, authorities released data that showed carjacking and shootings are also rising.

WGN9 reported that “[t]hrough the end of October this year, compared to the same period last shootings are up 9%, shooting victims are up 8.6% and murders are up 3%. Carjackings are at an all-time high and up more than 26% compared to last year.”

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