CHICAGO (WLS) -- New data obtained by the ABC7 I-Team reveals a disturbing crime trend across the nation and especially in Chicago. The latest violent crime stats for the first six months of 2020 compiled by the FBI and analyzed by the I-Team show while overall violent crime is down slightly, the number of murders is up significantly.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and an overall reduction in violent crime, the harsh reality is that there were more murders this year than last. New FBI data shows that murders here in Chicago spiked by more than 37% compared with the same period of 2019, and far outpaces the 14.8% average increase nationwide.
According to the FBI crime report, 335 murders reported in Chicago from January to June 2020, a huge increase from the 244 murders tallied during that time period a year ago. Arson in Chicago is up even more: a 52.9% increase from 2019. Aggravated assault and burglary in Chicago are also up over last year.
Other crime categories tracked by the FBI were actually down: including rape and robbery, enough so that the overall violent crime number in Chicago is down 1.4%.
The FBI is reporting similar trend lines nationally--with overall violent crime down while murder and non-negligent manslaughter are up. Because of the dismal murder figures in Chicago during the first half of this year, in July, federal law enforcement officials began a program here called Operation Legend to increase manpower, money and crime-fighting equipment in the city. Last week U.S. Attorney General William Barr heralded the early results: murders down 35-percent in July and 45 percent in August. Thursday, officials at FBI-Chicago told the I-Team that the momentum continues, citing more than 100 people charged here with federal crimes from the effort.