Cook County

Cook County Saw Record Number of Gun-Related Homicides in 2020

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office handed a record 16,049 cases in 2020, far surpassing the previous record of 10,654 set in 1977

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A record 875 gun-related homicides occurred during 2020, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said Friday, breaking the previous record of 833 set in 1994.

The medical examiner's office released the information Jan. 1, as well as preliminary 2020 data on overall homicides, COVID-19 deaths, overdose deaths and suicides.

Overall, 970 homicides were reported in 2020, the highest number in Cook County since 1996. Of all homicides, 722, or approximately 74%, occurred in the city of Chicago.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office handed a record 16,049 cases in 2020, far surpassing the previous record of 10,654 set in 1977. The county's 8,192 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, officials said, accounted for more than half of cases. Nearly half of all cases reported in 2020 were Black or Latino residents.

Approximately 6,200 deaths are reported in the county on an average year.

Additionally, a record number of opioid overdose deaths occurred in 2020. A total of 1,599 opioid overdose deaths had been confirmed as of Friday, while approximately 450-500 cases were awaiting toxicology results.

In 2019, Cook County saw its previous high of 1,277 opioid overdose deaths.

The medical examiner's office revealed that overall suicides did not increase year over year. However, the rate of suicide in Black communities dramatically increased in 2020. Black residents accounted for 94 of the 432 suicides in 2020, which is a 65% increase from 2019, officials said.

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