2016 was a record breaking year for the city of Chicago, unfortunately just not in any positive ways. Throughout 2016 we noted several grim milestones that plagued the Windy City: the deadliest month in 23 years, the deadliest day in 13 years, 4,300 people shot…the list goes on and on. And, as we noted a couple of weeks ago, when it was all said and done Chicago was thought to have recorded around 762 murders in 2016 (see “Chicago Violence Worst In 20 Years: ‘Not Seen This Level Of Disrespect For Police Ever’“). To put those numbers into perspective, Chicago recorded over 20% more murders in 2016 than New York and Los Angeles combined, despite having a fraction of the population.
And as bad as all those figures are, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, the actual number of homicides recorded in Chicago in 2016 were even higher than the official police data would suggest. The discrepancy is largely due to the fact that the Medical Examiner’s office tallies “homicides” while the official police data tracks “murders,” which exclude intentional killings that are deemed “justified” (e.g. police shootings). So while the official police data suggests there were 762 murders in 2016 the county numbers reflect 812 homicides including all of the “justified” killings.
The record-setting violence in Chicago is even worse than announced as new evidence shows the city suffered 50 more homicides last year than the numbers publicly reported in the past week.
The city posted a decades-high homicide count of 812 in 2016, per the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. That’s 15% greater than the 762 murders reported by the city’s police department.
The discrepancy is largely due to the fact that the county tallies “homicides” while the police number counts “murders.” Murders are defined as violent acts subject to criminal prosecution. Homicides, according to the medical examiner, include instances “when the death of a person comes at the hand of another person. This does not imply that all homicides are murders that would be subject to criminal prosecution.”
The city police count is also lower because it excludes violent, intentional deaths if the act is deemed justified, including police killings of residents.
Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Chicago’s homicides came a result of gunshot wounds while ~80% of the victims in Cook County were African American.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for victims of homicide in Chicago with 725 decedents being felled by at least one gunshot wound.
African Americans also bore the brunt of the violence in Cook County, which includes Chicago. They accounted for 710 of the county-wide total of 915 (88% of which occurred in the city). Men comprised 90% of the homicide victims in the county.
On a positive note, after a violent opening weekend to the year (see “3 Killed, 27 Wounded As Chicago Opens 2017 With A String Of Murders“), shootings and murders over the past week seem to be much lower than the run-rate for most of December. Per HeyJackAss!:
And while we would like to hope the recent data points to a less violent 2017, the collapse in shootings seems to be perfectly correlated with a 5-day period of frigid temperatures that likely kept Chicago’s violent youth indoors for a few days.
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