Chicago faces its 500th homicide this year

By: Hannah Paige Michels ~Head Photo Editor~

Photo courtesy of | 2016 has now become the deadliest year in two decades for Chicago since it hit over 500 homicides, with 13 deaths over Labor Day Weekend in September.

Chicago’s homicide tally surpassed 500 over Labor Day weekend and climbed to 517 on Monday afternoon.

In just a 14-hour span on Labor Day alone, nine people were murdered. The 92 homicides in August made for the deadliest month Chicago has seen since 1993, according to the Chicago’s Police Department. With more murders than Los Angeles and New York City combined, Chicago’s homicides are up 50 percent for the year.

Most of Chicago’s murders are gun-related, with nearly 82 shootings each week. Although Chicago has strict gun laws, 60 percent of guns used in this year’s shootings were purchased out of state.

“We border Indiana and Wisconsin, which have really lax gun laws…,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. “We know that people from Chicago go across the border, fill up gym bags with illegal weapons from gun shows and things of that nature and they come back here and sell them to the gangs.”

“We need to enact tougher penalties, so these individuals know their actions will not go without consequences. Until then, you’re going to keep seeing the same results on the streets,” Johnson said.

Illinois Govenor Bruce Rauner approved a new gun control law at the end of August that imposes a stricter penalty for those who sell out-of-state guns in Illinois without a proper identification card. Those found guilty of violating the new law can face up to 20 years in prison or up to 30 years for repeat offenders.

A New York Times study suggests that a combination of outof- state guns in Chicago along with a police force that is too small could explain the city’s murder problem. John Hagedorn, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying Chicago gangs, argues that gang disputes are also contributing to increased violence in Chicago.

Chicago has seen more than 3,000 shootings this year. The Chicago Tribune reported some districts such as Austin and Ogden having doubled in the number of shootings since 2015. City police officers told the Tribune that the fear of ending up in a viral video has caused them to approach their work more cautiously.