Chicago ends July with more than 400 murders, on pace to exceed 2016

SHARE Chicago ends July with more than 400 murders, on pace to exceed 2016

The family of 10-year-old Gustavo Garcia, who was shot and killed on July 22, carry his casket out of the funeral service at Immaculate Conception Church on July 25, 2017. | Max Herman/For The Sun-Times

The murder total in Chicago passed 400 with more than a week left in July, and the month ended with the city on pace to exceed the number of killings in 2016.

The city opened 2017 slightly behind the rate of killings in 2016, a year the city finished with 781 homicides, the first time in nearly 20 years that the city had logged more than 700 murders.

As of 11 p.m. Monday, the citywide homicide total was 409, with 74 killed in July. In 2016, the city did not reach 400 killings until Aug. 1.

The murders were not evenly distributed across the city, with the South and West Side neighborhoods of Austin and Englewood seeing the largest number of slayings.

Chicago is not alone among American cities in seeing an increase in bloodshed so far this year, said Jeff Asher, a crime statistician based in New Orleans. Asher noted a 4 percent increase in murders in 62 cities with more than 250,000 residents, in a post on


Funeral for Gustavo Garcia, 10, victim of drive-by: ‘Fly High Baby’

Man, 40, shot to death in Gresham

Man shot to death in Humboldt Park

1 dead, 1 wounded in East Side drive-by shooting

Woman fatally shot Monday in Grand Crossing identified

There are positive signs even in “jarring” figures on violence in Chicago, Asher said.

Shootings are down 13 percent in Chicago so far this year, according to CPD statistics, Asher said, meaning that while more people are dying of their wounds, fewer people are being shot.

“Gun violence is still persistently high in Chicago, relative to where it was two years ago,” Asher said. “But I look at shootings as a better metric overall of violence in the city, where murder [statistics] have some factor of randomness and luck.

“At some point, you will see some regression to the [arithmetic] mean.”

And nationally, murder rates have risen in dozens of cities during the last two years, according to data compiled by John Jay College of Criminal Justice researcher Peter Moskos.

Among 43 of the nation’s largest cities, all but three recorded increases in the number of murders from 2014 to 2016, though the nearly 80 percent spike in Chicago is the sixth-largest jump in the nation during that span. Midwestern neighbors Milwaukee (68 percent), St. Louis (18 percent) and Cleveland (33 percent) — all saw increases, according to Moskos’ statistics. All three cities also have higher murder rates than Chicago, calculated as the number of killings per 100,000 residents.

Murder totals across the nation also remain significantly lower than during the 1980s and 1990s, Asher noted, and it is not clear that Chicago, or the U.S., is at the start of a long-term, upward trend.

“When you compare gun violence to where it was in the ’80s and ’90s, it’s down 4- to 50 percent,” Asher said.

The Latest
Students at Nathanael Greene Elementary in McKinley Park have used soccer’s global tournament as an opportunity to study the world beyond Chicago.
The move Friday to give back money from Carmen A. Rossi’s companies came in response to Sun-Times reporting on an ethics order issued in 2011 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Sneed: Rapper’s mental problems are no excuse for his antisemitic ravings
Hospital admissions for COVID-19 have jumped more than 26% in the last week alone, putting them on pace to hit numbers not seen since mid-February.
An influencer before Instagram, Jojo came to symbolize an era of drag culture before reality TV popularized it. Friends and performers have organized events to raise money to help pay Jojo’s medical expenses.