CHICAGO — Chicago's violent summer did not improve in August, making the month the city's most violent in 20 years.
By the end of Wednesday, 90 people had been murdered in Chicago in August. Last August, 50 people were murdered, data from the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police shows.
That brings the murder count in Chicago to 483 for the year so far. That's more than the combined total in Los Angeles and New York City, which have seen a total of 393 murders. Those cities' combined populations are more than four times that of Chicago.
If the pace continues for the rest of the year, 2016 would mark the first time this century that Chicago's murders have exceeded the combined number in the country's two largest cities.
Shootings are also up considerably this year compared with recent years. Compared with last August, shootings are up 44 percent and the number of people shot are 38 percent up.
The last time Chicago saw numbers this high was June of 1996, and this August ties for the city's 5th most violent in 25 years.
For the year as a whole, the number of shootings are 51 percent higher than last year.
Chicago's violence is a focus of this year's presidential race, with Republican nominee Donald Trump routinely bringing up the city's violence in an effort to paint himself as a "law and order" candidate.
Last week, the nation's attention once again turned to Chicago when Nykea Aldridge, a mother of four, was killed while pushing a stroller in Woodlawn.
Aldridge, a cousin of Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade, was the subject of a tweet by Trump, who was criticized for politicizing her death.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said criticism from people like Trump is not helpful and renewed calls for tougher gun crime sentences.
"If you have a magic bullet to stop the violence anywhere — not just in Chicago, but in America — please share it with us," he said. "We'd be glad to take that information and stop this violence."
Other high-profile murders during August included:
• The slaying of Arshell Dennis III, a 19-year-old son of a Chicago Police officer who was back in Chicago for summer before planning to return to college in New York City.
• The murder of Abner Garcia, an army veteran who mentored at-risk kids through a YMCA anti-gang initiative.
• An arson fire in South Chicago that killed four people, including three children who were younger than 7.
• The shooting death of a South Loop man who was a "regular guy" heading to Dunkin' Donuts, according to neighbors.
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