It's official: Chicago recorded the most murders of any major city in the country in 2021, making it the most violent year on record in the Windy City at any point in the last quarter century.
According to data released by the Chicago Police Department and cited by the Associated Press, the city recorded 797 homicides, the most in Chicago since 1996 and more than any other city in the country. The 2021 total was 25 more than in 2020 and 299 more than in 2019. On top of that, there were 3,561 shootings in 2021.
"We all know this has been a challenging year here in the city of Chicago," Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference this week. "Too many families are reeling from the loss of (loved) ones due to senseless gun violence."
Brown added that most of the violence stemmed from conflicts between gangs and was concentrated on the city' notorious south side. As Mayor Lori Lightfoot struggles to quell the violence, some of the most dangerous neighborhoods include Austin, North Lawndale, Auburn-Gresham, West Garfield Park, West Pullman, South Shore, Roseland, Near West Side, South Lawndale, and Washington Heights, as the map below reflects.
To try and combat rising rates of violence, the city plans to hire more officers in the coming year.
"There will be more officers on the street, not just in patrol cars or behind desks, to interact with all Chicagoans," Brown said.
Both New York and LA have larger populations than Chicago. But both cities recorded at least 300 fewer homicides in 2021 than Chicago.
Surging violence wasn't limited to Chicago. Since the start of the pandemic, rates of violent crime have been climbing across the country, particularly in cities both small and large.
Just last month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf requested the help of California Gov. Gavin Newsom in trying to curb violent crime. In her letter to Newsom, the mayor noted 131 homicides had occurred in Oakland since the start of 2021.
And in tiny New Haven, Conn., Mayor Justin Elicker promised to address surging violent crime after the Elm City recorded 25 homicides in 2021, the highest tally in a decade.