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Chicago gun violence still up 50% through end of October as other crime falls

Meanwhile, 67 Chicago police officers have been shot at — 10 of them struck by bullets — so far this year. That’s nearly a four-fold increase from last year.

Chicago police on July 5 investigate the scene of a deadly shooting in which a 7-year-old girl and a man were fatally shot during a Fourth of July party.
Chicago police on July 5, 2020, investigate the scene of a deadly shooting in which a 7-year-old girl and a man were fatally shot during a Fourth of July party.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Shootings and murders have risen over 50% in 2020 compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, 67 Chicago police officers have been shot at — 10 of them struck by bullets — so far this year. That’s nearly a four-fold increase from last year when 17 officers were shot at, two of them struck by gunfire.

These are some of the new crime statistics released Sunday by the Chicago Police Department, showing trends through the end of October.

Despite skyrocketing gun violence — against citizens and police — the CPD said other crime decreased in 2020 as a coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the city.

Overall crime fell 7% during the first 10 months of 2020 compared with the same time last year, the department said.

The largest reduction in crime was theft, which dropped 27% from last year, the department said. Reports of burglary also fell 6% this year compared with 2019. Month-to-month, burglary declined 27% in October 2020 compared with October 2019. The department also says it’s seeing 20-year lows in burglary, robbery, theft and overall crime.

October also marked a downward trend in shootings this year, with the lowest number of shootings in the past six months, since April.

The CPD says some of the falling crime is due to illegal guns removed from the streets. This year, officers have recovered 9,100 guns and made more than 4,900 gun arrests — up 24% from 2019, the department said.

“I want to thank everyone who called 9-1-1 upon witnessing something suspicious,” Supt. David Brown said in a statement. “Chicagoans are truly our eyes and ears when it comes to violence reduction.”

The 11th police district — covering much of Lawndale, West Garfield Park and Austin — led the city with 1,100 guns recovered. That district was followed by the 7th and 6th districts in Englewood and Gresham.

In spite of the guns recovered, murders are higher this year than they were in 2016 — Chicago’s most violent year in recent memory.

There have been 655 murders this year through Oct. 31, while the city had 431 during the same period in 2019 — a 51% increase. For comparison, the murder count was 612 by Oct. 25, 2016.

At least 3,465 people were shot in Chicago through Oct. 31 this year, a 56% increase from 2019, which had 2,221 shooting victims during the same period.

The contrast in crime numbers — rising shootings but falling in other areas — comes amid two waves of downtown looting and a COVID-19 pandemic that’s made it’s way through the department’s ranks. About 1,100 CPD members have tested positive for the virus, although nearly, 1,000 have already returned to work.

The new crime statistics also come ahead of a Nov. 3 election that has the city bracing for possible civil unrest.

The CPD spent much of October doing exercises in preparation for election week, the department said. The CPD has canceled days off and will deploy additional personnel to protect the central business district.