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Shootings Up 80 Percent In Chicago This Year, Highest This Decade By Far

By Tanveer Ali | March 29, 2016 6:02am
 Through late March of this year, 775 people have been shot, up from 419 in the same period last year.
2016 Shootings
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CHICAGO — At least 775 people have been shot in the city so far this year, by far the most in the first three months of any year this decade, according to information compiled by DNAinfo Chicago.

The number is 80 percent higher than the number shot by the end of March last year, 419.

A DNAinfo analysis of city shootings found that there have been at least 650 separate incidents in Chicago in which someone was wounded through March 28, the highest number of shootings to start a year during this decade.

With warmer — and traditionally more violent — months coming up, that puts Chicago on pace to have one of its most violent years in recent memory, a concern that Mayor Rahm Emanuel brought up in Monday's announcement of his choice for the city's police superintendent, Eddie Johnson.

 Through March last year, there were 366 shootings. This year, there have been at least 650.
Through March last year, there were 366 shootings. This year, there have been at least 650.
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DNAinfo files

"We have a level of shootings and level of gun violence on the South and the West side that is unacceptable," the mayor said. He said Johnson has "all those qualities" to help stem the violence while improving morale in the police department.

Johnson, a 27-year veteran of the department who most recently led the patrol division, said "my expectation is to reduce this gun violence."

"I would say to these young people out here shooting and killing, they are destroying our communities, destroying families and it has got to stop," Johnson said.

He wouldn't discuss with reporters a specific strategy to stem the tide of violence, saying he didn't want to telegraph plans to possible shooters. "I don't want to give them my playbook."

Between March 1 and the morning of March 28, 240 shootings occurred, an increase of 33 percent over the previous March. The incidents included:

• A weeknight shooting in Austin that wounded four boys, ages 12 to 16.

• A daytime Back of the Yards shooting that wounded four people in front of a day care where children were napping.

• An evening shooting that ended with 13-year-old Zarriel Trotter, known for appearing in an anti-violence video, being critically injured by a stray bullet.

• A West Side shooting in which one man, 29-year-old Lamar Harris, shot three officers before being fatally shot by police.

Homicides so far this year are also up significantly. Since Jan. 1, 142 people have been murdered in Chicago. That's the highest since 1998 when 150 people were killed in the first three months.

While the mayor pointed out during his announcement that most of the gun violence was on the South and West sides, other parts of the city weren't spared this month.

A targeted shooting near the Division Blue Line stop during evening rush hour resulted in the death of 19-year-old Cesar Perez. Five shootings took place in Downtown. And in North Center, a 17-year-old was shot in a gang incident.

Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) said that while that was a random incident for the neighborhood, it spoke to wider issues of poverty, income inequality and other issues citywide.

"The building up of these issues over decades, and a lack of investment into struggling communities, leads us to where we are today. The amount of violence we see, hear and read about is heartbreaking," he said in a message he sent to ward residents.

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