Chicago Homicides January 2013: City Off To Worst Start Since 2002

In this Jan. 16, 2013 photo, assault weapons and hand guns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield, Ill.
In this Jan. 16, 2013 photo, assault weapons and hand guns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield, Ill. The FBI says the week following the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting massacre saw the greatest number of background checks for firearms sales and permits to carry guns conducted within a one-week period since 1998. The FBI says the second highest week was when President Barack Obama announced sweeping plans to curb gun violence. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

With still one more day before January ends, the Chicago homicide rate in the first month of 2013 is off to its bloodiest start in more than a decade.

Homicides already pushed past 40 by Jan. 28, and during a record-breaking warm spell with temperatures higher than 60 degrees the following day, three more were slain in broad daylight.

According to the Tribune, January homicide numbers in Chicago haven't been this bad since 2002; police data shows that year had 45 homicides to start, with shooting victims comprising 82 percent of the total.

The troubling numbers have brought plenty of national attention—from a widely-read feature in the New York Times to a just-published piece of grim satire from The Onion—to Chicago's homicide problem, along with plenty of questions for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

On Monday, the city's top cop was at the White House for a meeting on gun violence, reports ABC Chicago. McCarthy was joined by police chiefs from towns that recently experienced mass shootings.

According to the Tribune, McCarthy said after four hours with some of the "brightest minds" in the country, most of the suggestions for curbing Chicago's violence epidemic weren't much different than what his department is already doing.

Following the meeting with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and top cabinet members, McCarthy told ABC, "There seems to be a consensus among police—and a popular consensus—that the reasonableness of gun laws has to be examined."

At a Tuesday press conference, he noted his officers took more illegal guns off the streets than anywhere else in the country. According to the Tribune, McCarthy said within the first three weeks of the month, "two of Chicago's 22 police districts seized more illegal guns than were collected in all of New York City."

McCarthy also pointed out New York also has harsher penalties for gun violations.

"... When people get caught with (illegal) guns in New York, they go to jail," McCarthy said, according to the Tribune. "… As a result they're not carrying guns with impunity."

Chicago currently has some of the strictest gun laws on the books, but police data reported by the Times shows more than 15,000 of the police-traced guns came from just outside the city limits as well as from neighboring towns that permit gun stores. Guns in Chicago flow from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. The majority of guns come to Chicago from other areas in Illinois, but a large portion also come from southern states.



Crime In Chicago