USviewer: Homicides and shootings, already an all-too-common hazard in the city, have skyrocketed since last year, when the numbers were already high. The rise in violence is fueled in part by gangs, whose disagreements range from neighborhood turf wars to disputes over girlfriends. The conflicts often escalate quickly to gunfire.
This weekend, one of the victims was an 18-year-old man who was shot multiple times in the neck and back while he was driving at 1:30 a.m. on Christmas Day in the Gage Park neighborhood, on the city’s Southwest Side.
His death would become another entry in a fast-moving police log of murder investigations, many with no suspects in custody.
Officer Jose Estrada, a spokesman with the Chicago Police Department, said in a telephone interview on Sunday that the total number of homicides so far this year was 745, a 56 percent increase from 476 at the same time last year.
This year was the first time in nearly two decades that more than 700 homicides had been recorded in the city, The Chicago Tribune reported this month.
Officer Estrada said the total number of shooting victims so far stood at 4,252, up 47 percent from 2,884 at the same time in 2015. Data of the shootings over Christmas weekend logged by The Chicago Tribune reflected a relentless crime blotter: Nearly all of the people shot were men, the majority under 30.
The brutal cold of a Chicago winter has not been as reliable a deterrent of violence as it has been in the past: 42 homicides have been recorded so far this month, compared with 33 during December last year, according to The Tribune’s data.