If 2016 was a terrible year for the homicide rate in the city of Chicago, 2017 is shaping up to be even worse.
That’s because data from the Chicago Tribune indicates the latest shooting incident, involving seven victims just this week, has now pushed 2017 into a fast-track mode of outpacing last year’s homicide numbers.
The seven shootings on Wednesday were all fatalities; five were killed within a span of just two hours. And the victims? One was a woman who was eight months pregnant.
That’s the highest number of homicides in a day since Christmas 2016, when eight were killed.
The city’s homicide rate so far this year had been lagging a bit from 2016. But on Wednesday, that all changed.
Because of the seven shootings on Wednesday, February 22, Chicago has now seen 99 homicides. Chicago didn’t hit that number in 2016 until two days later, on February 24.
A day after the seven shootings, President Donald Trump tweeted: “What is going on there – totally out of control. Chicago needs help!”
And a week earlier, Trump called Chicago “worse than almost any of the places in the Middle East,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Among the killed this Wednesday: The pregnant woman and her boyfriend, as well as the baby she carried in her belly. A 24-year-old man shot in the head and back by a driver of a dark-colored sedan. A 31-year-old man also shot in the head and back by a “person of interest” who’s now being interviewed by police, the Chicago Tribune reported. And a 45-year-old man shot in the head.
In 2016, Chicago’s homicide rate of 762 was the highest in 19 years. In 2015, by comparison, the homicide rate was 480.
The city also recorded 3,550 shooting incidents, other than homicides, in 2016, and treated 4,331 shooting victims, according to Chicago Police Department statistics.
Interestingly, the city has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation.
And in August, in response to the then-rising murder rate, Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner passed a new gun-control law imposing even stiffer penalties on anyone caught without a gun-owner identification card who tries to sell firearms in the state.