Dec 3, 2021 - News

2021 violence stats the worst in nearly 30 years

A photo of yellow police tape.
Police tape surrounds a crime scene where three people were shot at the Wentworth Gardens housing complex in June, 2021. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

2021 is shaping up to be one of the worst years for deadly violence in Chicago history.

  • Over 1,000 homicides have already been recorded in Cook County in 2021 and we still have a month to go.

Why it matters: Gun violence continues to have an impact on everything from safety to the economy.

By the numbers: Per Cook County Medical Examiner's office data released at the end of November, there have been 1,009 homicides as of Tuesday, 927 of which were gun-related.

  • 777 of those homicides were in Chicago. The next highest count was in South Suburban Harvey (30).
  • The new numbers follow the sharp rise of 2020 but are also almost 40% higher than 2019, when 624 homicides were recorded.

Context: The last time Cook County saw this many homicides in a year was 1994 (1,141).

  • 1991 was the worst year on record, with 1,229.
  • And at least 4,100 people have been shot in Chicago this year, 69% more than in 2019.

What they're saying: "Much of what we believe contributed to the spike in homicides and shootings in 2020 has continued into 2021," Roseanna Ander, executive director of the UChicago Crime Lab tells Axios.

  • "The population most at risk for gun violence involvement continues to live through an economic crisis and mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic."

Between the lines: 81% of the county's homicide victims were Black and 15% were Latino.

  • Most affected age group: 20-29 (389 homicides).
  • Youngest killed: 1-month-old boy.
  • Oldest: 84-year-old man.

Be smart: The uptick in gun violence follows the trend that has seen homicide numbers spike across the country, not just here in Cook County.

What's next: Ander is hopeful that new federal funds from the infrastructure package will help.

  • "Chicago is set to receive an unprecedented infusion of federal resources including some that are reportedly going to be used for violence prevention. If those dollars are invested in data-driven and evidence-informed ways, we can hope to have a different conversation about gun violence trends in the coming years."
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