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187 Shot in Chicago in February, Nearly Triple Those Shot in February 2015

By Alex Nitkin | March 1, 2016 8:20am
 Police officials called the February numbers
Police officials called the February numbers "unacceptable."
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DNAinfo/Devlin Brown

CHICAGO — Following a historically violent January, the city registered another spike in shootings in February that nearly tripled last year's February total.

According to the Chicago Police Department, the last month saw 43 murders and 187 people shot, compared to 20 murders and 70 people shot in February 2015. 

That's down from 51 murders and 292 shooting victims in January, according to police.

But with 94 murders 470 people shot since New Year's Day, 2016 has seen a more violent first two months than any year for which DNAinfo Chicago has kept records. According to the Tribune, this year's numbers haven't been reached since 1997, when the city clocked 761 murders before year's end.

In a Tuesday statement, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi called February's violence "unacceptable" and laid out a "series of new strategies" aimed at curbing it.

Vowing to "aggressively target those responsible," Guglielmi pointed to a Monday gang crackdown that led to the arrest of 74 people on gun and drug charges. 

February saw a 40 percent increase in murder arrests from last year, Gugliemi added. Chicago Police barely solved one-fourth of the 472 homicides committed in 2015, a previous DNAinfo analysis found.

In tandem with the crackdowns, city officials also will expedite the demolition of vacant buildings that can "serve as a hub of gang activity," Guglielmi said.

Finally, starting Tuesday, police will begin working with the American Civil Liberties Union to "begin using a newly simplified version of the investigatory stop form," Guglielmi said.

Following a dramatically reduced number of traffic stops in January, some speculated that the spike in violence could be traced to an "ACLU effect" brought on by the group's suggestions for best practices in investigative street stops.

"While we have much more work to do ... the Chicago Police Department will not rest until every resident in every neighborhood enjoys the same sense of safety," interim Police Supt. John Escalante said, according to a news release. "We will continue to work tirelessly on ways to stop violence and restore accountability and trust in communities throughout the city."

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