Chicago gun violence continued to decline with the cooler weather in November, but shootings and murders are still spiking compared with last year.
Nearly 3,800 people were shot in Chicago this year through the end of November, compared with about 2,400 shooting victims in the same period last year — a 58% increase.
Meanwhile, police reported 716 murders through the end of November, a 54% increase from the 464 murders during the same time last year.
Compared month-to-month, November closed out with 267 shootings while November 2019 had 154 shootings — a 73% increase.
These statistics are from a Chicago Police Department report released Tuesday, which highlights some improvements amid rising gun violence in 2020.
Police said the improvements include:
- Officers recovered more than 10,000 illegal guns through the end of November, and made 6,600 gun arrests — which police expect to be a 10-year high.
- Overall crime numbers — including murder, robbery, sex assault, theft and burglary — fell 7% in 2020 compared with the end of November last year.
- Reports of theft are down 27% through November compared to 2019. Police said that the “dramatic reduction remains the primary driver of Chicago’s decrease in overall crime.”
- Reports of burglary and theft remain at 20-year lows, according to year-to-date statistics.
Supt. David Brown — who started the job earlier this year — said police have faced considerable challenges as COVID-19 and civil unrest hit major U.S. cities.
“Chicago is no exception. And yet, our officers continue to work hard every day to make our home a safer place,” Brown said in a statement. “I want to commend our brave officers for putting their lives on the line and working to improve public safety.”
Beside the pandemic and civil unrest, officers are also facing a three-fold increase in shootings directed at officers.
Chicago police officers have been shot at 71 times this year, and 10 officers have been struck by bullets. In the same period of 2019, officers were shot at 18 times, with three officers struck by gunfire. In July, three police officers were shot when a prisoner opened fire at a police station on the Northwest Side.
The police department has also been hit with COVID-19 infections, with about 1,500 officers testing positive for the virus out of about 13,000 total employees. Three officers died of the virus in April. One officer was found dead in his home last week, but autopsy results remain inconclusive pending results of a COVID-19 test and other testing.
Chicago is among many major U.S. cities experiencing a jump in gun violence in murders. New York had 405 homicides through mid-November compared with 295 over the same time last year, a 37% increase.
The jump in Chicago violence has been so great, the city could possibly have as many murders as any time since 1998. As of Sunday, the year-to-date murder counts of 2020 and 2016 — Chicago’s most violent year in recent memory — were tied at 715.
But with winter approaching, violence continued to decline and November ended with fewer shootings and murders compared with October. Police recorded 360 shooting victims and 65 murders in October, while November saw 339 shooting victims and 58 murders.