At least 49 people have been shot, including seven fatally, in incidents across Chicago this weekend, police said, continuing a trend of increased shootings and murders in the city.
Seven teenagers, all boys, were among those wounded in multiple shootings reported since Friday evening, police said.
One victim, a 24-year-old woman, was standing on the sidewalk in a residential area “when she heard shots (and) felt pain,” police said in a statement. She went to Holy Cross Hospital with a gunshot wound to the left thigh and a gunshot wound to the buttocks. She is in fair condition, police said.
Hours earlier, a 35-year-old man was shot in the neck and died of his injuries at Northwestern Hospital. The man and a 25-year-old woman waved down police from a car after both had been shot around 2:35 a.m. Sunday, police said in a statement. The woman is in good condition but uncooperative with police, police said.
The violence fits a trend seen across major US cities this year: a sharp rise in shootings and murders in the past few months, even as overall crime complaints have declined. These trends coincide with the end of pandemic-related shutdowns and the mass protests against police violence and racism.
As of July 12, Chicago police reported 385 murders this year, a 48% increase from at the same point in 2019, and 1,541 shootings, a 46% increase from the same point last year.
The increase has been particularly stark in the past month. There were 116 reported murders in the 28 days before July 12, about three times the murders in the same period in 2019.
Total crime complaints are down 9% compared to last year, led by steep declines in theft and criminal sexual assault incidents, according to Chicago police.
Compared to 2016, crime complaints have declined 23%, with 10% more murders so far this year but 11% fewer shooting incidents. Historically, this year’s murders and shootings are well below the heights of the 1990s, when crime peaked in US cities.
Crime experts believe this year’s increase in murders and shootings relates to the heightened distrust between police and the communities they serve, exemplified by Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said it’s highly likely that widespread social unrest in response to George Floyd’s death and other police violence is contributing to an increase in violent crime. When people don’t trust the police, he said, they’re more likely to take matters in their own hands.