Chicago Homicides Reach 400 This Year, City Turns To Twitter For Ideas To End Violence

Homicides This Year Hit A Devastating High

Homicides in Chicago have reached a new high this year, even as recent data show that surging gun violence in the Windy City has slowed from its devastating midsummer heights.

With still three months of the year ahead, Chicago has seen 400 murders so far in 2012 as of Friday, marking a 25 percent increase over last year's numbers, WGN reports.

Tio Hardiman of Cure Violence (formerly Ceasefire) Illinois told the station that he expects the city may hit 500 homicides this year, a mark it has not reached in several years.

On Sunday, almost 200 people took to the streets of Chicago in an anti-violence rally led by Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church. Trotter told the Associated Press he has presided over four recent funerals of teenagers in the city.

"The city has gone wild. It's no longer just gang killing, it's random killing," Trotter told the AP.

Last week, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy touted that, although the city got off to a violent start this year, its murder rate in September was down 30 percent, according to CBS Chicago. McCarthy also said shootings have been on the decline for five consecutive months.

Gun violence still proved fatal for 25-year-old Chicagoan Jose Escobar, who was gunned down early Sunday outside Johnny O’s Hot Dogs, a 24-hour stand located at 35th and Morgan in the city's Bridgeport neighborhood, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

A second man, a friend of Escobar's, was also wounded critically in the shooting but is expected to survive the incident. Police say the shooting was related to a gang rivalry.

At least five other people were wounded over the weekend, including a 15-year-old boy who was shot twice after he was the target of at least ten rounds in city's Hermosa neighborhood early Sunday, according to WGN.

The ongoing gun violence in Chicago has inspired the city to crowdsource residents' 140-characters-or-less ideas to stymy gun violence over Twitter. NBC Chicago reports that the best submissions will be debated on Oct. 11 during a Chicago Ideas Week panel discussion.

Participants may submit their ideas by using the hashtag #WhatIfChicago.

"This is an issue that impacts everybody," Jessica Malkin, Chicago Ideas Week director, told CBS. "Regardless of what neighborhood you’re living in, it’s a huge issue in Chicago."

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