Chicago homicides increase 50 percent in 2020, 139 percent in July alone, data shows


Chicago saw a dramatic increase in homicides and shootings in the first seven months of 2020 and a particularly remarkable increase in July, reflecting a growing trend in the U. S. that raised questions about potential police reform in major cities.

Data released on Saturday showed that Chicago saw 440 homicides between January 2020 through the end of June, a 52 percent increase from the same time period last year (which saw 290 homicides). Shooting victims similarly increased by 51 percent (1,480 to 2,240) and shooting incidents themselves rose 47 percent (from 1,210 to 1,783).

Crime tends to increase during summers, but recent events have fueled unrest in the U. S. The troubling figures came as Chicago and other cities saw dramatic increases in violent crime amid protests surrounding George Floyd's death. Kansas City, for example, is expected to see "close to 700 people" shot by the end of the year, its police chief previously told Fox News.

A host of other cities -- Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle -- also saw spikes in shootings and murders, according to public data. “I think it’s just a perfect storm of distress in America," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in July.

In her city, the police department reported a 240 percent increase in murders (from 5 to 17) when comparing a four-week period ending in July 2019 to the same timeframe this year. New York City, meanwhile, saw a 277 percent increase in shootings (from 13 to 49) when observing the year-over-year change for one week in July.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s statistics show there have been 151 murders so far this year, an increase of 12.7 percent compared to the 134 reported at this time in 2019. Shooting numbers, however, were down.

July 2020 was especially violent for Chicago, as the city recorded 105 homicides and 584 shootings. Among them was a 9-year-old boy who was killed Friday when someone opened fire in the direction of a number of people, including him and his friends, according to police. The morning prior, three Chicago police officers were shot just outside a police station.

In July alone, Chicago saw a 139 percent increase in murders from the previous year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Despite the increase in violent crime, overall crime, which includes violent crimes, burglaries and thefts, was down 9 percent compared to the same period last year. The decrease was driven by a 26 percent decline in thefts and a 19 percent decline in sexual assaults, police said.

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