Chicago murders continue to skyrocket as police brass admit 'it's just been a really challenging year'

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Murders in Chicago have surged by more than 50% year-over-year with 739 homicides reported through Sunday, as one police official opined on what he called an “extremely challenging year” for detectives in the Windy City.

“For the typical homicide detective, it’s been an extremely busy year,” said Chicago Police Department (CPD) Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan during the latest episode of “Real Talk with Superintendent Brown,” which was released Monday and focused on murder investigations. “The homicides have increased dramatically in Chicago, but not just Chicago – across the country – because of the pandemic and because of the civil unrest.”

As of 11:59 p.m. Sunday, CPD saw 739 murders so far in 2020 – approximately 55% more than the 475 reported through the same period in 2019, police told Fox News. More than 320 of this year's murders have been solved, officials said. 

Shooting incidents have seen a similar increase, of just more than 53%, from the 2,035 reported through Dec. 13 in 2019 to the 3,128 reported through Sunday, police said. Meanwhile, the number of shooting victims jumped 58% from 2,463 to 3,895 year-over-year.

Police Superintendent David Brown, who hosted the discussion, started in part by explaining that 2020 had been “a year like no other.”

“You’ve been a detective for a long time. You’ve never been a detective in a global pandemic, nor have you experienced the civil unrest that we’ve had. It’s unprecedented,” Brown said, speaking to Deenihan. “And the impact of violence with everything else we’re dealing with, its impact on the courts – slow to a crawl, really because we haven’t been able to convene.”

Brown went on to explain that grand juries and trials “have slowed,” courts are operating remotely and jail populations have “shrunk to a bare minimum because of COVID’s impact.”

Deenihan said homicide detectives had been faced with “an extremely challenging year” as murders are “skyrocketing” amid COVID-19-related slowdowns.

“It’s just been really challenging altogether on top of all the challenges detectives face when they are working these murder cases,” he continued.

In the month of November alone, 58 homicides were reported – a 25-murder jump from the 33 reported the same month in 2019, police said.

Shell casing markers are seen where a 37-year-old man riding a bicycle was shot and pronounced dead at the hospital, according to local media reports, on the West Side of Chicago, July 26, 2020. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Meanwhile, CPD officers took more than 10,000 illegal guns off the street through November of this year, police said.

But Chicago is not alone in seeing an uptick in violence.

Earlier this month, the New York City Police Department reported that the number of shootings through November in New York City had risen “to levels unseen in years.”

“The year so far has presented significant public safety challenges with gun violence continuing to afflict New Yorkers across the city,” the New York Police Department (NYPD) said in a press release.

The uptick in shootings across the Big Apple continued through November, with the NYPD reporting a surge of 112.5% for the month compared to the same time last year. The police department documented 115 shootings this November compared to the 51 reported during the 2019 month, officials said.


From Jan. 1 through the end of November 2020, gun violence in the city skyrocketed by 95.8% compared to the first 11 months of 2019 – 1,412 shootings in 2020 compared to the 721 by that point last year, police said.

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