Chicago Records 500th Homicide of the Year Over Labor Day Weekend
One of the deadliest cities in America, Chicago, recorded its 500th homicide over Labor Day weekend, making 2016–with four months yet to pass–the deadliest year in a decade in a city where gang-related violence has ruptured in recent years. By the close of the weekend, according to Chicago Tribune data, 512 people in Chicago had been killed this year. Most of the violence occurred from Monday morning into dawn on Tuesday, as all 13 victims died from gunshot wounds. Last weekend, 65 people were shot in total.
According to the Tribune, police attributed the late surge in shootings to retaliatory acts by gang members at holiday gatherings. Many of the homicides took place in the city’s South Side neighborhoods, the nucleus of violence during a historically bloody summer. In August alone, 90 people were killed, the highest single month tally since June 1996.
As the final days of summer tick away, 2016 is projected to be Chicago’s deadliest year in at least a decade. The deadliest city with two million citizens or more (a handful of other cities–St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore–see more murders on a per capita basis), Chicago is on track to record its highest murder rate since the early 2000s. The projected homicide rate for the city for 2016 is 24.1 deaths per 100,000 people. New York, where murder rates have been steadily declining, is on pace for a substantially lower homicide rate, at 3.8 per 100,000 people.
— BBC News US (@BBCNewsUS) September 6, 2016
A majority of Chicago’s victims die as the result of gun violence. Proponents of gun-control argue the city needs stricter gun ordinances. But Illinois has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The reality is that 60 percent of the city’s guns were purchased out of state–many from Indiana–and driven back into the city. The state government is taking political steps to address the city’s exorbitant violence.
A few weeks ago, Governor Bruce Rauner (R-IL), passed a law to address people without gun-owner IDs bringing firearms into Illinois. The law reclassifies the act from a crime to a felony, which would carry a penalty of four to 20 years in prison, and up to 30 years for repeat offenders.
Labor Day weekend was the deadliest of the three holiday weekends thus far in Chicago. Six fatalities were recorded over Memorial Day weekend, and five during the July 4th weekend. Among those killed over the weekend was a retired pastor, but most of the victims were 20-something year old males.