Illinois’ Cook County Surpasses 1,000 Annual Homicides for First Time in 27 Years

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 24: Activists hold a rally calling for the defunding of police in the Lawndale neighborhood on July 24, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The annual budget for the Chicago Police Department is more than $1.6 billion. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Cook County, Illinois, has claimed a grim milestone with over 1,000 homicides in 2021, the highest total since there were 1,141 homicides 27 years ago, the country’s Medical Examiner’s Office said.


There have been 1,009 homicides to date in 2021 in Cook County, showing an increase over 986 homicides recorded in all of 2020. Last year’s homicide totals were more than 40 percent higher than 2019’s total of 675. The county’s record for most homicides in a year was recorded in 1991, when 1,229 homicides were handled by the Medical Examiner’s Office. The city of Chicago has registered 777 confirmed homicides in 2021, with just under 23 percent occurring in suburban Cook County.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) has received pointed criticism over her handling of gun violence in her Democrat-run city, which saw nearly 40 people shot by Sunday morning alone during Thanksgiving weekend. 20 city council members previously urged for the public safety committee chairman to conduct hearings on gun violence.

“Nobody’s going to save us,” criminal justice reform activist Will Calloway said. “Let’s put an end to this madness. Come on, there’s babies getting shot in the streets.”

Lightfoot has repeatedly blamed the recent surge in violence in major U.S. cities such as Chicago on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s no question that the COVID-related impact on the public safety system in Chicago, in New York, in L.A., D.C. and other cities across the country is real. And what we’ve got to continue to do is make sure that we’re demanding of our courts and our prosecutors that they hold violent people accountable and keep them off our streets,” the mayor told MSNBC last month.

“It’s a huge issue for us in Chicago, and we have to continue fighting that fight,” she added. “And then we’ve also got to play the long game at getting at the root causes of the violence, which is poverty, lack of investment, lack of jobs and … lack of hope. We got to disrupt the pipeline of young souls that are going to the streets and subject to the predatory tactics of the gangs by giving them hope in a future that isn’t minding somebody’s corner spot.”


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