Chicago police guard the perimeter of a crime scene
where six people were found slain. Scott Olson/Getty
The nation's third largest city has recorded at least 95 homicides in the first two months of 2016, the deadliest start to a year since the late 1990s, according to police department data.
Chicago Police Department officials said on Tuesday that the spike in violence is being driven by a rise in gang activity. The city recorded at least 43 homicides in February after recording 52 homicides in January, matching the deadliest start of a year for the city since 1999. That year the city recorded 643 murders.
"While we have much more work to do, however the Chicago Police Department will not rest until every resident in every neighborhood enjoys the same sense of safety," said Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante. "We will continue to work tirelessly on ways to stop violence, and restore accountability and trust in communities throughout the city."
The city's police also recorded 165 shooting incidents for the month of February. Not counted in the police department's official homicide toll are several violent deaths that were ruled justified — including two robbery suspects killed by a shop owner and a man fatally shot by police.
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If all violent deaths were counted, the homicide toll would rise to 102 for the first two months of the year, according to a data base maintained by the Chicago Tribune.
Chicago Police reported 468 murders in 2015, a 12.5% increase from the year before. There were also 2,900 shootings, 13% more than the year prior, according to police department records.Read the full story HERE.
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