The year ended as one of the most violent ever in Chicago, as a rise in shootings left more people dead than in any single year in a quarter century, the Associated Press reports. Police said 2021 ended with 797 homicides, 25 more than in 2020, 299 more than in 2019 and the most since 1996. There were 3,561 shooting incidents in 2021, about 300 more than were recorded in 2020 and a staggering 1,415 more than in 2019. Other cities have also seen homicide rises, but Chicago, as in previous years, ended 2021 with more homicides than any other U.S. city. New York and Los Angeles each had recorded at least 300 fewer homicides than Chicago for the year as of late December.
“We all know this has been a challenging year here in the city of Chicago,” said Police Superintendent David Brown. “Too many families are reeling from the loss of (loved) ones due to senseless gun violence.” He said the bulk of the homicides are the result of conflicts between gangs. Brown said police cleared 400 homicides — a total higher than any year in nearly two decades. The clearance rate for killings was just under 50 percent. Officers took a record 12,088 guns off the street last year. That coincided with the creation of a Gun Investigations Team focused on interrupting the flow of illegal guns into the city. Brown hopes to increase the number of detectives investigating violent crimes from 1,100 to 1,300 in the first few months of this year. He hopes to recruit more new officers, saying, “There will be more officers on the street, not just in patrol cars or behind desks, to interact with all Chicagoans.”