Chicago Murder Rate: City Hits 500 Homicides For 2012 For First Time In Four Years

Chicago has reached 500 homicides for 2012 after a 40-year-old man was fatally shot in a neighborhood in the city’s west side.

The news of the grim milestone came after an unusually violent year — especially during the summer months — in which multiple shootings a night were common.

The unusually warm year had something to do with the high Chicago murder rate, the Chicago Tribune noted: “Largely contributing to the spike was the unusual number of homicides that occurred during the early part of the year, when the city experienced unseasonable warmth. In the first three months of the year, homicides ran about 60 percent ahead of the 2011 rate.”

The last time Chicago reached the 500 homicide mark was 2008, when it had 512, The Associated Press noted. Last year the city had 435 homicides.

The most recent homicide was Nathaniel Jackson, who was found on the sidewalk outside a convenience store with a gunshot wound to his head. He was taken to Stroger Hospital early Friday where he was pronounced dead. Jackson was a known gang member who himself had a long conviction record.

“The last time he was out, someone had shot him several times, in the back,” his cousin, Gave Bates, said outside the hospital where Jackson was declared dead. “He was a fighter, he was a survivor.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy acknowledged the high homicide rate: “The city has seen its 500th homicide for 2012, a tragic number that is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods.”

McCarthy added that all homicides are unacceptable but said the police had seen success in reducing the Chicago murder rate though aggressive tactics to quell gang violence.