According to an article from the Chicago Tribune , unofficial tallies from the Chicago Police Department released on Tuesday conclude that the Windy City ended 2012 with a total of 506 homicides. Following a particularly violent year, this number means that roughly 16 percent more murders occurred last year than in 2011.
Here are some facts and details about 2012's murder rate, the police department's accomplishments and difficulties, and what lies ahead in terms of public safety in Chicago:
* Last year marks the first time in four years that the city's total number of homicides has reached more than 500.
* This means that 2012 was the most violent year since 2008 and the second-most violent year since 2003.
* The first few months of 2012 saw the largest increase in homicides, which law enforcement and public safety experts believe was influenced by unseasonably warm temperatures.
* In fact, March saw 53 homicides, whereas March 2011 saw 23 homicides.
* Homicides were more than 60 percent higher during the first quarter of 2012 in comparison to the same time period in 2011, reported the Associated Press .
* Following this huge spike, the Chicago Police Department placed more officers on beat duty and launched a gang audit in which the police department gathered more information on rival gangs. The police department noted these changes as the reason why the next three quarters saw less murders than the first.
* The Chicago Sun-Times noted that 87 percent of the individuals murdered in Chicago last year died as a result of a gunshot wound.
* Eighty percent of the homicides in 2012 were gang-related and 80 percent of the victims were African-Americans, noted Reuters .
* Back in August, six people were murdered on a single day, making it the highest one-day homicide total of the year.
* Chicago's first homicide of 2013 occurred in the early morning hours on Tuesday. Octavius Dontrell Lamb, 20, was shot on the 700 block of North Noble and was pronounced dead at 4:16 a.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
* According to the Weekly Standard , the statistics mean that on average, 1.5 people were murdered in Chicago each day in 2012 and 7.3 people were shot each day.
* In a statement made by Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy last week, he said, "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."
* The Chicago Police Department has already committed to reducing violent crime in 2013, but faces personnel and other issues that must continued to be addressed in order to reach this goal.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.