For the first time in almost 20 years, Chicago has had more than 700 homicides in a year, and 2016 isn’t even over yet.
According to official police department records, the grim milestone was reached early Wednesday morning when, at 6:20 a.m., a man was shot in the back and abdomen and crashed into a bus shelter, according to Frank Giancamilli, a police spokesman.
Homicides reached 701 on Wednesday night after a man was shot and killed walking over a gangway.
With 701 homicides, this year has seen a 56 percent jump since 2015, which had 450. Additionally, as of Wednesday, 4,050 people have been shot, which constitutes a 50 percent jump from 2,699 victims last year.
On Tuesday, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called the rise in violence “unacceptable” and blamed it on “a small subsection of citizens.”
“The police are doing their job,” Johnson told reporters. “What we need help in is holding these repeat gun offenders accountable for this gun violence, and until we do that, we’re going to continue to see the cycle of violence.”
The Rev. Marshall Hatch, pastor of the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in West Garfield Park, noted that it isn’t easy for young people to live in this environment.
“It’s really a culture of death,” he said. “There’s a lot of fear and a lot of assumption that they’re not going to live long.”