Chicago has recorded its 438th homicide this year, marking the first time since 2008 that the city’s homicide total hasn’t decreased year-to-year and keeping the city on pace to top 500 killings for only the second time in almost a decade, reports the Chicago Tribune. The rising homicides have brought unflattering national attention to Chicago for much of the year.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the homicide rise “not good,” but pointed to anti-gang initiatives undertaken by his administration as well as statistics showing that overall crime has dropped. “We have other milestones,” Emanuel said. “One is overall crime is down 9 percent in the city, has seen the largest drop ever. Second, we’re tearing down the 200th building today where gangbangers and drug dealers hang out.” Even with the surge in killings, the numbers are still down significantly from the early to mid-1990s when homicides totaled about 850 to 940 a year during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic.