Shootings, homicides increased in January compared to 2019: police

Murders and shootings reported last month in Chicago increased compared to January 2019, according to statistics released by Chicago police.

The 34 murders reported in January were a 55% increase from the 22 killings in the same month last year, Chicago police said in a statement Saturday. The department touted January 2019 as having the fewest murders the city had seen in the month since 2010.

The number of shootings also increased by 43%, with 139 incidents reported in January this year compared to 97 last year, police said. The Sun-Times has counted 160 gunshot victims across the city for the month.

The Sun-Times has also counted 34 homicides this January within city limits. Among the earliest homicides of the year were two toddlers killed in South Shore.

Although Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck said the increase in crime this month was “alarming,” he was optimistic about the year as a whole.

“I am confident that crime in Chicago will end the year with an overall decline and that trust will improve between residents and police,” Beck said in the statement. “The increases seen in January are alarming, and I expect officers to respond with increased vigilance and by paying greater attention to the needs of their communities.”

Other crimes — robberies, burglaries and vehicle thefts — fell 3%, police said.

On Thursday, Beck announced a police reorganization — one of the largest in Chicago in decades.

The changes include deploying more than 1,100 officers and detectives into the city, and bolstering public safety resources in neighborhoods that have seen an increase in crime, police said. The city also announced two requests for proposals totaling $7.5 million to expand community-based street outreach and integrate trauma-informed services for those at high risk of violence.