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Chicago violence cools down in September — but shootings, murders still up 50% from last year

CPD has logged 588 murders this year through Sept. 30, while the city saw 392 murders during the same time in 2019 — a 50% increase. The city recorded 496 killings in all of 2019.

Police officers Saturday investigate the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy in the 200 block of North Leamington Avenue in the South Austin neighborhood on Sept. 26, 2020.
Police officers Saturday investigate the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy in the 200 block of North Leamington Avenue in the South Austin neighborhood on Sept. 26, 2020.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Violence in Chicago continued to decline with the cooler weather in September, but shootings and murders have spiked 50% since last year, according to police statistics released Thursday.

In a statement, the Chicago Police Department touted several violence metrics that show decreasing violence; but several of those numbers either compared month-to-month improvements or excluded gun violence.

For instance, shootings and murders fell 19% from August to September, according to CPD. And overall crime — including murder, sex assault, robbery, battery, burglary and theft — fell 7% compared with 2019.

But the year-to-year comparison of shooting and murder numbers shows a grimmer assessment of city crime trends.

CPD has logged 588 murders this year through Sept. 30, while the city saw 392 murders during the same time in 2019 — a 50% increase. The city recorded 496 killings in all of 2019.

Chicago already has recorded more murders than it did in the same time in 2016 — one of the most violent years in recent memory. And the gun violence in 2020 has fallen heavily on children. Six children under 10 years old have been killed this year alone.

In 2020, Chicago police have recorded 3,110 shooting victims citywide, compared with 1,999 victims during the same time in 2019 — a 55% increase.

But the spike in shootings and murders stands alone, as Chicago police reported falling crime in other areas compared with 2019, according to official CPD statistics: Reports of sexual assault fell 23%; car thefts reports fell 27%; robbery reports fell 2%; and burglary reports fell 3%.

Besides shooting and murders, only reports of aggravated battery and car theft had increased from 2019: about 5% each.

Police Supt. David Brown said it’s been an “unprecedented year” for Chicago police who have faced civil unrest and a pandemic that’s already infected more than 900 officers with COVID-19.

On May 31, during the height of the first wave of unrest, Chicago recorded 18 murders — making it the single most violent day in the city’s modern history.

“And yet, our officers remain committed to improving public safety despite these challenges,” Brown said in a statement.