2016 Was One of Chicago's Bloodiest Years in Decades

There were 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,331 shooting victims in 2016, police said

Following last year's "unacceptable rise in violence," the Chicago Police Department announced plans New Year's Day to quell city violence headed into 2017.

Data made available by the department shows 2016 was one of the most violent years in the city since the mid '90s, with more than 750 murders reported. To combat the rise in violence, police aim to tailor response to different neighborhoods and crack down on repeat violent offenders. 

"In total there were 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents, and 4,331 shooting victims in 2016. These totals represent a completely unacceptable rise in violence," police said. "According to two reports from the Brennan Center for Justice and the University of Chicago Crime Lab, this is similar to increases being seen in other major cities including: Boston, San Antonio, San Jose, San Diego, Memphis, Austin, Indianapolis and others."

Murders saw a 10 percent uptick nationwide in 2015, the most recent year available, according to an FBI report released this September. That was driven by violence in large cities, like Chicago, but the report noted violent crime is far down from historic highs.

There were 468 murders in the city last year, according to Chicago police statistics. The last time more than 762 people were murdered in the city was 1996.

Officers in Chicago recovered 8,300 guns, a 20 percent increase from 2015, and made 10 percent more gun arrests in 2016, the statement reads.

Police also said attacks of Chicago police officers "nearly doubled in 2016 as offenders grew more emboldened." The department noted attacks on officers throughout the country are increasing.

Police will employ an "enhanced crime fighting strategy" in 2017 in an effort to reduce violence, increase the capability of its officers and build public trust. The strategy is based on best practices underway in other cities, police said.

"A major component will be the creation of district based intelligence centers so that crime plans and deployments can be more custom-tailored to the individual nuances and patterns in communities," the department said. "These centers will be staffed with district intelligence officers and crime analysts from the University of Chicago Crime Lab."

Two districts will be operational on Jan. 20.

"This strategy will also place a heavy emphasis on creating a culture of accountability for repeat violent offenders so that we actually have meaningful deterrents to gun crime and trigger pullers think twice about the consequences for their reckless actions," the department said. "In addition CPD is working with our newly-elected partners in the States Attorney's Office to strengthen how we investigate and prosecute gun cases."

By the end of this year, the department will add nearly 1,000 more police officers, including beat officers, detectives lieutenants, sergeants and field training officers, the statement reads.

"The violence in 2016 was driven by emboldened offenders who acted without a fear of penalty from the criminal justice system," said Supt. Eddie Johnson in the statement. "The challenge we face as a city is serious, and like other cities it is significant. We will be adding to our police department, we are committed to partnering with residents, we will benefit from the investments being made by the Mayor, and if we come together and work together I know we can turn the tide in 2017."

Five police districts on the South and West sides of the city accounted for 65 percent of the increase in killings, according the police department's statement. Five other districts on the North and Northwest sides saw declines in murders or remained flat in 2016, the statement said.

In addition to the districts the department said are most responsible for violence, more than 80 percent of fatal and nonfatal shooting victims this past year "were previously identified by CPD as being likely to be involved in an act of gun violence either as a victim or an offender," police said.

The department aims to use technology like body cameras and gunshot detection equipment, new crisis intervention training, transparency and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's public safety plan outlined last fall to grapple with the relentless violent crime.

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