Chicago sees a drop in homicides and shootings, but carjackings and other crimes are up from year ago

After seeing the most violent year since the 1990s, Chicago has logged fewer shootings and murders so far this year though other crimes like carjackings are up.

Homicides are down almost 7% compared to this time last year, with 128 people killed through the end of March, according to the latest police data. The number of people shot — 593 — is down 15%.

The drop in shootings has been the greatest in 15 of the city’s most violent community areas that have been targeted by the Lightfoot administration.

Overall, those areas on the West and South sides have seen a 24% decrease in the number of people shot, or 110 fewer than last year, accounting for nearly all of this year’s decrease in shootings. In three of them, shooting victims dropped by half or more.

But those 15 areas still accounted for 64% of the city’s homicides and 60% of the people shot, and they remain more than eight times more violent than the rest of the city. In five of them, homicides have increased this year.

Many other types of crimes have increased across the city this year. After seeing a drop earlier in the year following the creation of a task force, the number of people carjacked — 499 — is up 3%.

In a statement accompanying the statistics, the Chicago Police Department said it has made 72 arrests for carjackings this year, with 57% of them juveniles. It didn’t say how many of those arrests were for carjackings committed this year.

Robberies are up 11%, burglaries are up 36%, motor vehicle thefts are up 43% and thefts are up 70%. Aggravated batteries are up 9% and sexual assaults 3%.

But some of those crimes are down from what they were in 2019, which Police Superintendent David Brown has repeatedly referred to as the city’s baseline goal because it was before the pandemic hit.

Burglaries are down 22% compared to that year, aggravated batteries are down 7% and sexual assaults are down 2%. All other major crimes are up.

Experts have said the jump in some crime statistics, such as burglaries, thefts and robberies, could be because more people out and about, leaving their homes and heading back to work.


Many major cities have seen a rise in violent crime, according to FBI statistics, with a nearly 30% spike in homicides nationwide for 2020. The agency hasn’t released statistics for 2021 yet, but Chicago saw a 60% increase in homicides in 2020 compared to 2019.

The Englewood police district on the South Side has been the most violent so far this year, with 62 homicide and shooting victims, giving it a rate of 10.6 victims per 10,000 residents, according to a Sun-Times analysis. That makes it five times more violent than the city’s average of 2.1.

The Loop and River North police districts have also seen a rise in homicide and shooting victims, with 20 so far this year, compared to three last year. Their victim rates per 10,000 residents are 1.5 and 0.5, both less than the city average.

The department noted in its press release it had cleared 88 murder cases this year, with a clearance rate of almost 69%. It doesn’t say how many of those cases ended in an arrest, or how many are cases from this year. In 2021, according to a Sun-Times analysis, the police boasted of a record high clearance rate though half of the murder cases didn’t end in an arrest.

The department also says it’s taken 2,541 guns off the street so far this year.