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500 homicides. 9 months. 1 American city.

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Chicago’s 500th homicide of the year happened over Labor Day weekend, according to the Chicago Tribune. That number carries a lot of weight for the city — not just in quantity, but in meaning: 2016 is now the deadliest year in two decades.

CHICAGO VS. OTHER CITIES
When you compare Chicago’s homicide rate to that of other big cities in the country — New York and Los Angeles, for example — it tops the list. But Chicago is not the homicide capital of the United States. New Orleans, St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore and Newark all have higher rates when you drill down the data per capita. However, this doesn’t tell the entire story of Chicago’s bloodshed. There’s another statistic that points to a disturbing trend the city is facing: a surge.

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WHAT 500 MEANS

In the early 2000s, the homicide rate in Chicago held steady, but it began an upward tick in 2014 and has been increasing ever since. But 2016 is the deadliest year in two decades when it comes to homicide rates. Chicago hit 500 homicides before the end of the summer. In 2015, the city had 480 homicides total. The day-to-day breakdown of those figures is alarming. For example, there were 12 murders on Father’s Day weekend alone. The youngest victim was just 16.

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