The number of homicides in Chicago this year has already outpaced those recorded in 2016 after seven people were shot dead on Wednesday alone.
Seven people were killed on Wednesday, bringing the total number of homicides this year to 99 – figures which were not recorded until two days later in 2016, according to data collected by the Chicago Tribune.
This is bad news for the country’s third largest city, since 2016 marked the deadliest year for Chicago in two decades, with 762 homicides.
Among the seven people shot dead on Wednesday were Wilteeah Jones and her boyfriend Malik Bingham.
Jones, who was eight months pregnant, was shot in the abdomen and side, while Bingham, a documented gang member, was hit in the neck.
They were pronounced dead at the hospital, along with the baby, who Jones wanted to name Mileah.
Wednesday marked the deadliest day in Chicago since Christmas, when eight people were killed.
There were 99 homicides recorded in 2017 by Wednesday evening – numbers that were not recorded until two days later in 2016, according to the Tribune.
The total number of people who were shot in 2017 – 495 as of Wednesday evening – has also surpassed last year’s figures by more than 60 people, the Tribune reported.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday night: ‘Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago. What is going on there – totally out of control. Chicago needs help!’
Trump has blasted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel before for allowing his city’s murder and firearms shooting rates to spiral out of control, going so far as to say he would ‘send in the Feds’ to fix the ‘carnage’.
Police and city officials have lamented the flood of illegal guns into the city, and the crime statistics appeared to support their claims: Police recovered 8,300 illegal guns in 2016, a 20 per cent increase from the previous year.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said anger at police has left criminals ’emboldened’ to violent crimes.
He also said it’s becoming clearer to criminals that they have little to fear from the criminal justice system.