Shootings, Homicides in Chicago Drop 13% in 2023 and Returned to Pre-Pandemic Levels, But Violence Numbers Remain Among Highest in Recent Decades

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Shootings and homicides recorded in Chicago fell by 13% in 2023 as violence rates returned to pre-pandemic levels, but the number of people killed last year was still among the city’s highest over the past two decades.

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There were 617 homicides and 2,450 shootings across Chicago throughout 2023, according to Chicago Police Department data, with both totals hitting their lowest levels since 2019. While homicides and shootings decreased, other crimes like robbery, theft and criminal sexual assault saw increases in 2023.

“During 2023, CPD worked alongside community partners from across the city to reduce violence and build trust throughout our neighborhoods,” Police Superintendent Larry Snelling said Tuesday in a statement. “As we head into the new year, we will continue our efforts to build stronger bonds amongst our residents, support the victims of crime and protect all Chicagoans.”

Despite the double-digit percentage drop, the homicide total was still the city's fifth-highest for any year since 2004, police data shows, trailing totals from 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2016.

There were 2,880 people shot in total across the city last year, which is a 17% decrease from 2022. That figure is also down 34% over 2021’s total, when 4,384 were shot.

In December 2023 alone, there were 37 homicides and 154 shootings, according to the police department, which said 17 of the city’s 22 police districts recorded fewer homicides compared to 2022.

“This significant progress is thanks in part to the hardworking men and women of the Chicago Police Department, as well as collaboration across the city with residents, community groups and faith-based organizations,” the CPD said in a statement.

Despite the drops in shootings and homicides, the number of robberies (11,051) and motor vehicle thefts (29,287) reported in 2023, both jumped significantly, with increases of 23% and 37%, respectively.

The number of thefts, aggravated batteries and criminal sexual assaults also increased last year.

The police department itself saw significant leadership changes in 2023, as four different men held the role of interim or permanent superintendent throughout the year. David Brown left his position in March and was succeeded on a temporary basis by Eric Carter, and then Fred Waller.

Snelling, a longtime department insider, was then approved as the CPD’s new full-time leader in September.

The police department said it recovered more than 12,400 illegal firearms during 2023. That’s an average of about 34 guns recovered each day, as the CPD marked its third straight year with more than 12,000 firearm recoveries.

Last year’s total also included 1,230 assault weapons, which is nearly 15% more than in 2022.

Total crime along CTA transit lines fell by 5% in 2023 year-over-year, while violent crime on trains and buses declined by 2%.

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

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