Police: Total Crime Down in May, but Homicides, Shootings on the Rise in 2020

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

The Chicago Police Department says total crime was down in May compared to the same month last year, but the number of shootings and homicides are both up significantly over 2019 — and officers have since made thousands of arrests during displays of civic unrest following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

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The CPD’s latest crime figures, released over the weekend, show a 20% reduction in overall crime citywide in May 2020 compared to May 2019. But year-to-date totals through the first five months of 2020 show an increase in shootings (30%) and homicides (25%) over the same time frame in 2019.

In May 2020 alone, there were 332 shootings and 85 homicides, up from 198 and 53, respectively, in May 2019.

Part of the reason behind those spikes came on the final day of May 2020, when Chicago reportedly saw 18 homicides, marking the city’s most violent day in at least 60 years, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Data also shows 1,127 shooting victims through May 2020, which marks a 30% increase over last year. The total number of shootings, homicides and shooting victims in 2020 are each at their highest point since 2017, according to police data.

Still, the CPD said robberies, burglaries, thefts and carjackings in Chicago remain at 20-year lows so far this year.

In late May, the CPD assigned 100 officers to a new Summer Mobile Patrol Unit, which patrols and deploys to hot spots in the city based on given conditions, crime patterns or special events. The department also joined with other city agencies for a first-of-its-kind Summer Operations Center that pools city resources to focus on public safety during the summer.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, police also issued more than 11,400 group dispersals to enforce the now-expired stay-at-home order. The CPD also issued 45 citations to people who refused to comply with that order and made 27 arrests.

Chicago police have also made a significant number of arrests during protests in the days since Floyd was killed.

While total crime is down through May, Police Superintendent David Brown on Monday said during a call with reporters his department has made 2,665 arrests for civil unrest and disorderly conduct over the past nine days and 788 arrests for looting. The CPD also recovered more than 500 guns.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday said the National Guard, which was called to assist in street closures and other measures last week following violent protests in Chicago, remains in place and will continue to do so “as long as they’re asked to be by local law enforcement.”

He noted, however, that instances of rioting have recently tapered off, even as protests have continued.

“I must say that over the last couple of days, I think you’ve seen and I’ve seen the amount of looting in fact has dropped to very little, if any in the last 24 to 48 hours,” he said, “and the ‘mayhem’ I would describe it as that was evident a week ago, more before the National Guard got into place, is significantly down.”

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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