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Violence in Cook County: More people killed in area, Chicago shootings in 2021 than ever on record

COOK COUNTY, Illinois – More people were shot dead in Chicago and the Cook County area in 2021 than any other year on record, officials said Monday, two days after authorities announced that the country’s third largest city had the most murders in the US recorded a quarter of a century.

In Cook County, which includes Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, there were 1,002 firearm-related homicides last year, the coroner’s office said in a press release. That was 121 more than the previous record in 2020 and almost twice as many as in 2019.

The announcement came two days after police in Chicago, where the vast majority of killings in the county took place, reported that there were 797 more murders in the city than in any year since 1996. As in Chicago, where the vast majority of the Murders involved guns; all but 85 of the 1,087 homicides in Cook County were gun-related.

SEE MORE: Chicago Crime Rate 2021: The year ends as the city’s deadliest in a quarter of a century

In both Chicago and the county as a whole, the vast majority of murders last year occurred in neighborhoods that were mostly racial minorities. In Cook County, 80% of the murders were black and 14% were Hispanic.

The pandemic helped make 2021 the second busiest year for the coroner’s practice, with nearly 4,500 COVID-19 deaths adding to the 12,618 cases handled. Only 2020, when vaccines were only introduced in the final weeks of the first year of the pandemic, was busier as the office handled more than 16,000 cases.

Opioids caused at least 1,488 deaths in Cook County last year, though the coroner’s office expected such drugs to be responsible for an additional 600-700 of the pending cases. If so, the final opioid deaths would be more than 2,000 in 2021, surpassing the 1,840 registered in 2020, the office said.

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