Chicago is on pace to pass 700 homicides this year as the city faces a 50 percent increase in gun violence from a year ago. Since 1998, it’s a milestone reached only one other time, in 2016, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. So far, Chicago has more murders this year than during the same period in 2016, the city’s most violent year in recent memory. As of Thursday morning, 694 deaths in Chicago have been ruled homicides, concludes a Sun-Times analysis of Cook County medical examiner’s office data. The city had 680 murders by this time in 2016.
In April, Police Superintendent David Brown challenged his department to keep the annual murder total under 300 — a number the city seen in 60 years. He likened the challenge to President John F. Kennedy’s goal to put a man on the moon. At the time, Brown wanted Chicago to “become the safest big city in the country, bar none. Others might be afraid to speak of such lofty goals for fear of falling short.” Even the mid-year homicide total in 2020 outpaces the totals in years past. The Sun-Times counted 503 homicides in all of 2019; 550 in 2018; and 664 in 2017. Chicago logged 781 homicides in all of 2016. Shootings are also up 53 percent compared with last year, but still nine percent lower than in 2016. Through Nov. 15 this year, the city saw 2,898 shooting incidents, nearly 1,000 more than during the same time in 2019. This year, Chicago saw its most violent day in 60 years, with 18 murders recorded on May 31.