CHICAGO (CBS) — With 78 homicides, October was the second deadliest month of 2016, and Chicago surpassed 600 homicides for the first time in more than a decade.
The last time Chicago had at least 600 homicides in a single year was 2003.
Homicides and non-fatal shootings have skyrocketed in 2016, with 605 homicides and more than 3,600 shooting victims through the end of October.
In October, there were 78 homicides and 427 shooting victims. Only August had more homicides, when 90 people were slain in Chicago. It was the bloodiest month in the city in 20 years.
The city is on pace for 726 homicides in 2016, a number not seen since the late 1990s.
Chicago police said the majority of the increase in violence this year has happened in five districts on the South Side and West Side, but Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said his officers were not outmanned in those areas.
The superintendent said the state needs stricter sentencing laws for repeat gun offenders.
“It’s our repeat gun offenders that are driving all this violence, and until we get tough on sentencing gunmen – holding them accountable – we’re going to keep seeing this cycle keep continuing,” he said.
To help fight the increase in crime, the Emanuel administration already was planning to hire 970 new police officers over the next two years, in addition to filling existing vacancies in the ranks.
Based on sophisticated computer data and analysis, more officers will be deployed on foot and bike patrols in high-crime areas; and repeat offenders will be targeted as part of a block-by-block public safety strategy.