Chicago Records 51 Homicides in January, the Highest Amount in 4 Years

The city of Chicago recorded a total of 240 shooting victims in January, both fatal and non-fatal combined, with 51 of those being classified as homicides.

Despite inclement winter weather to open 2021, the 51 homicides in January is the highest number recorded in Chicago since 2017. During the same month last year, the Chicago Police Department recorded 35 homicides across the country's third-largest city. The department does not include murders that occurred on expressways or killings which were committed in self-defense, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday. In January 2017, the same number of 51 homicides occurred but that year overall marked a three-year decrease in violence which ended last year despite the pandemic.

There were a total of 201 shootings throughout January, which marks an increase from the 137 shootings recorded during the same month last year.

Newsweek reached out to the Chicago Police Department for any additional remarks or data regarding the gun violence uptick on Tuesday morning. Overall, violent crime rose by 2 percent in January compared to January 2020, CPD data shows.

Chicago police noted that one alarming statistic is the number of young people being arrested across the city related to carjackings. A majority of the carjackers who were arrested were between the ages of 15 and 20 years old. The Chicago Tribune reported that Alderman Stephanie Coleman launched "Operation Safe Pump" to provide residents with set times in which gas pumps across the city are safe for fill-ups. There was a 135 percent increase in carjackings from January 2020 to the year before.

Nearly 1,000 guns were recovered in January, which is a nearly 20 percent increase from 2020. Even more alarming to Chicago police was the shooting of 10 officers since the start of the year. Four police officers were shot in January 2020.

Forty police officers and four sergeants have been added to carjacking task forces across the city, the department said Monday. In total, 1,417 carjackings were reported in 2020, which is double that of 2019.

Shootings have been primarily focused around the city's south and west sides, although several isolated incidents occurred in all parts of the city. During the third weekend in January alone, 31 people were shot and seven were killed between Friday at 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday. And this past weekend, four people were killed and 19 others were wounded from gunfire related incidents, ABC 7 Chicago reported. The gun violence which occurred this past week happened amid a large winter storm, which traditionally has led to at least a partial decrease in violent incidents.

Chicago police car
A Chicago Police vehicle on display at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois on February 6, 2020. This year has seen a spike in homicides in the city. Getty Images/Raymond Boyd