August is Chicago’s deadliest month in more than two decades. According to a recent report, The Windy City saw 496 homicides in the first eight months and it is on the fast track of exceeding 2015’s death toll.
With 496 homicides and 2,909 shooting victims, every 2 hours a Chicagoan gets shot, and every 11 hours and 51 minutes somebody is killed. Surprisingly, of the 496 murder victims from the start of the year, 448 died from gun injuries.
The rest died through arsons, stabbings, or assaults. You can check the full list of victims, their cause and moment of death, along with helpful info on Chicago’s murders here.
Experts noted that August recorded the highest rate of homicides since 1993 when 99 people were murdered. The yearly crime rate is also record-high, with the most killings in almost two decades. The last time the eight-month toll was this high was in 1997 when 488 people fell victim to murderers.
Analysts expect this year to surpass last year’s record since it has four more months ahead.
When asked what measures it plans to set in place to tame the tidal wave of violent crimes, the Chicago Police Department mentioned gun seizures. The department seized about 6,000 illegal firearms since the start of the year.
A spokesperson for the police put the blame on gun proliferation and lenient punishments for gun-related offences. The police department said that its servicemen work “their tails off” to get illegal guns off the streets.
But while they may arrest somebody on Friday for illegally purchasing a handgun. On Thursday, they can find the same person with another illegal gun on the streets again.
Annual Toll May Be Higher
The department added that the annual death toll may be even higher. The recently-released report did not include deaths that may turn out as homicides after investigation, justifiable homicides, and deaths on the city’s expressways.
According to the report, 16 people got shot on Aug. 31 with four of them being murdered. Most killings occurred in poverty-stricken neighborhoods on the West and South sides.
The last homicide victim in August was a 21-year-old man in Oakland neighborhood. An unidentified gunman killed the man was around 9:15 P.M. on the Lake Park Ave. Witnesses said they saw the victim in a car talking to the gunman who was outside the vehicle. The two men had an argument, and the shooter took out a gun and fired at the victim. The police pronounced the man dead at the scene.
A 47% Increase from Last Year
The report also shows that the annual murder rate through August jumped by 47 percent from a year prior. In 2015, there were 322 homicides. The number of people being shot from January to August also jumped by 47 percent from last year’s 1,594.
Police officers, however, expect the killing spree to continue as the Labor Day weekend comes to a near. The public holiday which marks the end of the summer has often been associated with a peak in violent crimes.
The department is now preparing for a spike in violent crime this weekend. But the Fraternal Order of Police, the labor union of the department’s 8,202 officers, advises its members not to work overtime. Instead, the FOP recommends the CDP to hire more full-time agents.
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