Chicago earned a new title in 2016: the nation’s murder capital.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Police Department reported 762 homicides in 2016 – that’s the most the city has seen in two decades – and more than New York City and Los Angeles combined.
It is also the city’s biggest spike in homicides in 60 years; the number is up 57 percent from 2015, in which 485 homicides were reported.
As expected, the number of shootings went up, as well.
The Chicago Police Department reported an astounding 3,550 shootings in 2016, 46 percent more than the previous year. In addition, 8,300 illegal guns were confiscated by police, a 20 percent increase from 2015.
A majority of these deaths and shootings occurred on Chicago’s South and West sides – which consists of predominantly poor and minority neighborhoods – and were gang related.
It will be interesting to see how the city plans to curb this violence in 2017. Illinois already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, but gun control advocates are calling them “lax” and “weak” in light of these statistics. Chicago’s bloody year may give the state reason to make them even tougher later this year.