Killing Season Chicago, Wicker Park, July 2011

Click on the names of the deceased on the right navigation panel to see images of the sites and information about the circumstances of their deaths.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The New Trend is Up

Homicide spreadsheet for January 2012 (click for larger view)

Chicago ended the first quarter of 2012 with 118 homicides, the worst first quarter for homicides in nine years, continuing a troublesome trend that began late last year. That is a 57% increase from the 75 homicides recorded in that same period in both 2011 and 2010. Nonfatal shootings totaled almost 490 in the first three months of 2012, up 37% from a year earlier.

The city recorded 50 homicides in March, up from 22 homicides in March 2011 and 31 in March 2010.

Criminologists contribute the rise in homiceds to the unseasonably warm weather this winter. Commenting that in better weather people are outside more which inevitably leads to more opportunity for conflict.

The worsening violence comes as the Emanuel administration touts its efforts to combat gang crime and add officers and resources to some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.

To combat violence in two of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods, Police Superintendent McCarthy saturated "conflict zones" in the Englewood and Harrison police districts with additional officers early this year as a long-term strategy.

But the early results appear mixed. Through April 1st, homicides fell to 6 in the Harrison District on the West Side, down from 9 a year earlier. But killings almost doubled in the Englewood District on the South Side, jumping to 15 from 8. Nonfatal shootings rose sharply in both districts, however.

During one particularly violent weekend last month, 49 people were shot — 10 of them fatally, including a 6-year-old girl as she sat between her mom's legs on the family's Little Village front porch.

In the last two weeks of March, the violence continued unabated. The department's statistics show that 26 people were killed and more than 80 nonfatal shootings occurred from March 19 through April 1.

Here are the breakdowns for a few of the most affected communities as of today:

West Englewood - 10
Chicago Lawn - 10
Austin - 7
South Shore - 7
South Lawndale - 7
Englewood - 6