762 murders. 12 months. 1 American city.

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There were 762 murders in Chicago in 2016. It was the deadliest year in nearly two decades.
Here’s how we got to this point, what it means for the city and those whose lives have been changed forever.


The number alone doesn’t tell the entire story of Chicago’s bloodshed. There’s another statistic that points to a disturbing trend the city is facing: a surge.
* Includes first-degree murders, second-degree murders and reckless homicide (Source: CNN)

There was more than a 50% increase in murders in just one year. Chicago hit 500 homicides before the end of the summer in 2016. In 2015, the city had less than 500 homicides total.
Five police districts on the south and west sides of the city accounted for nearly two-thirds of the increase in murders, according to Chicago police.
The day-to-day breakdown of those figures is alarming. For example, there were 12 murders on Father’s Day weekend alone. The youngest victim was just 16.
And crime didn’t subside over the holidays. On Christmas weekend, 12 people were killed, and police investigated 27 shootings.


When you compare Chicago’s murder rate to that of other big cities in the country — New York and Los Angeles, for example — it tops the list.
But Chicago isn’t necessarily the murder capital of the United States.
New Orleans, St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore and Newark all have higher figures when you drill down to a per-capita rate.

Chicago vs. other US cities

Number of murders per 100,000 people, 1985–2015

* More than 35 murders per 100,000 residents (Source: cnn)


On New Year’s Eve, people carried nearly 800 wooden crosses bearing the names of those killed in Chicago in 2016. (Source: CNN)
We often point to Chicago’s alarming homicide numbers, but the real tragedy in this city are the victims and the families left behind.
One child age 16 or younger is murdered in the city every week on average. This has been happening for more than a quarter century, police records show.
On December 31, 2016, many Chicagoans came together to mourn what they lost over a year: their loved ones, their sense of safety — and, in many ways, the city they love.
Renee Canady’s son, Deandre Holiday, was killed in the early hours of January 1, 2016, after getting into a fight. He was 24.
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