Shootings, murders rise 50 pct in Chicago in 2020

Photo taken on Feb. 9, 2020 shows the building of Chicago Police Department near Chinatown of Chicago, the United States. (Photo: Xinhua)

Shootings and murders in U.S. city of Chicago jumped up by more than 50 percent in 2020, official figures showed.

City officials attributed the rise in violence in 2020 to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest that happened in the middle of the year, Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

According to the final crime number released by Chicago police, there were 769 murders in 2020, up from 495 in 2019; and 3,261 shootings in 2020, up from 2,140 in 2019. The number of shooting victims climbed from 2,598 in 2019 to 4,033 in 2020.

Cook County, where Chicago is located, reported more gun-related homicides in 2020 than any other year, surpassing the previous record set in 1994.

The county saw 875 gun-related homicides in 2020, exceeding the 838 recorded in 1994, according to a news release of the medical examiner's office.

The medical examiner's office handled 970 homicides in total in 2020, the most since 1996. The figure represents a 40 percent increase over 2019's homicide total of 675.

Most of the homicides happened in the city of Chicago, and Black people were disproportionately impacted, accounting for 78 percent of the victims, the news release said.