Chicago Homicide Rate Reaches Levels Not Seen In Almost 20 Years

Amber Randall | Civil Rights Reporter

The murder count in Chicago reached 700 this week. It’s the first time since 1998 that the city has seen such high numbers.

Joseph Anderson, a black man who died with a gunshot wound to the face, is at least Chicago’s 700th homicide victim for 2016. Jovan Wilson, 15-year-old grandson of  U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, was also one of the victims. He was shot during a home invasion and an argument over gym shoes Friday.

Homicide rates in Chicago have skyrocketed in 2016. The last time the city experienced such high murder rates was in 1998, which saw 703 homicides.

The city started 2016 with 51 homicides and 272 gunshot victims in January. The number of homicides in January doubled in two years. January 2014 had 20 homicides, while January 2015 had 29 murders. (RELATED: Chicago Celebrates Valentine’s Day Weekend With 20 Shootings)

Six homicides occurred and 14 people suffered from gun shot injuries during a weekend in February 2016.

The homicide rate for August 2016 was the highest seen for a month in 20 years. August saw 90 homicides. Labor Day Weekend saw 13 people killed and 52 injured from gun violence. (RELATED: Bloody Labor Day Weekend Puts Chicago In New World Of Homicide)

A July 2016 report from the Illinois Violent Death Reporting System found that the black community is disproportionately affected by Chicago’s gun violence.

Murder rates in the black community were eight times higher than those of whites in 2005, according to the report. The black community had homicide rates that were 16 times higher than whites in 2010, and 18 times higher in 2015, the report concluded.

The police have only reported 654 homicides for this year. The reason for this is that the police department does not count incidents that happened the year before, accidental shootings, ones that happen out of self-defense, or fatal shootings that happen on the interstate highway.

Illinois State Police usually investigates the highway shootings.

The department only counts what it considers to be first degree murder, according to Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

Cases that are defined by the FBI as “the willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another. The classification of this offense is based solely on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other judicial body,” are counted.

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