CHICAGO - Despite winter weather, Chicago began the year with 51 homicides in January, the highest number for the month in four years.
The latest tally is a sharp increase from the 35 slayings recorded in the same month last year, according to statistics released Monday by the Chicago Police Department.
According to records kept by the Chicago Sun-Times, there were 54 homicides in January 2021. The figure is higher because CPD’s count does not include homicides on expressways nor killings committed in self-defense.
This January was the deadliest in Chicago since 2017, when 51 murders were recorded across the city, according to police statistics.
The January spike in murders comes after slayings in Chicago soared in 2020 after three years of declining violence.
Meanwhile, January also saw an increase in shooting incidents compared to the same month last year, police said. Chicago recorded 201 shootings through the end of the month, while January 2020 saw 137 shootings.
Over 240 people were shot in Chicago in January, while 158 shooting victims were reported during the same month last year, police said.
Overall, violent crime rose by 2% in January compared to the same month in 2020, police said. The increase was driven by the rise in homicides and shootings.
Besides the increase in those two areas, the department has also been dealing with a sharp rise in carjackings over the last year.
Near the end of January, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said that there had already been 144 carjackings since the beginning of the year. The surge comes after 1,417 carjackings were reported in 2020, more than doubling those reported in 2019.
In response, 40 officers and four sergeants were added to carjacking task forces last month, police said. The move places a dedicated carjacking team in each of Chicago five detectives areas.
Police said a great concern is the number of young people being arrested for carjackings. According to CPD arrest data, most carjackers are between 15 and 20 years old.
The department also noted that nearly 900 guns were recovered in January, a 19% increase from January 2020, and 10 officers have been shot at since the start of the year, compared to just four officers during the same month in 2020.