Chicago Police reported nearly four dozen murders in May, and the city is averaging more than a killing a day so far this year.
The 46 slayings in May, as measured by the Chicago Police Department, are the most in any month this year, but the total is not out of the ordinary. Police reported 47 homicides in May 2013, and 50 in May 2012. There were 40 killings during the month last year.
Chicago now has 161 murders for the year — the highest total through the first five months of the year since 2012, when 208 people had been killed by June 1.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office, which has different guidelines for tallying deaths, reported an even higher total: 166 homicides, including one person fatally shot by police and two people who died this year after being shot in previous years. Forensic pathologists were scheduled to perform three more autopsies Monday on apparent gunshot victims.
The most recent killings happened minutes apart on the West Side.
A 53-year-old man was fatally shot in the 4900 block of West Lake Street in the Austin community about 7:10 p.m. Sunday. Less than five minutes later, a 27-year-old man was shot while standing on a sidewalk in the 100 block of North Cicero Avenue in Austin, police said. The medical examiner’s office has not yet released either man’s name.
The Austin neighborhood — the city’s most populous — has had the most killings this year with 13, according to medical examiner’s office data. South Shore and West Englewood have each had nine killings so far this year.
“We will continue to implement a smart policing strategy to improve the safety of our communities and our relationship with the residents we all serve,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a statement. “Today, we are building on our community policing philosophy, gathering more feedback from Chicagoans, putting more officers in high crime areas, and intervening in active gang conflicts.”
Just like murders, the number of shootings and shooting victims are at their highest point since 2012.
So far this year, police say 960 people have been suffered gunshot wounds in 820 separate incidents.
In a press release announcing the crime statistics, police said the “ease of access to illegal guns in places with weaker gun purchasing laws … continues to pose a challenge to public safety in Chicago.”
Police said they have recovered 2,783 illegal guns so far this year, a 13-percent increase from the same time last year.
Despite the rise in shootings and murders, police say “overall crime” is down 9 percent compared to the first five months of last year.