Chicago tops 500 homicides in 2017 - and that's a good sign

Weekend gun violence across Chicago pushed the city to 500 homicides in 2017, an infamous milestone that comes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced nearly 100 new police officers would be hitting the streets.

Last year, the city reached the grim mark 14 days earlier, during the Labor Day Weekend, according to data from the Chicago Sun-Times.  There has been a nearly 7 percent drop in homicides from this time last year, according to the data.

On this date last year, there had been 534 homicides so far in 2016, a year in which Chicago recorded 762 homicides — an average of two murders per day, the most killings in the city in two decades and more than in New York and Los Angeles combined.

Between Friday evening and Monday morning this year, 11 people were killed in Chicago -- including four in a single shooting -- pushing the city to the 500 mark, according to data compiled by the Sun-Times.

Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner's office told the Sun-Times the killing of a 47-year-old man on the far South Side was the city's 500th killing.

John Bolden was sitting in a parked car around 11:22 p.m. Sunday when someone in a gray van fired shots, striking him multiple times in the side of his body, officials said. He later died at a hospital.

Emanuel announced Sunday nearly 100 new officers were deployed throughout the city, part of a two-year plan to add 1,000 more officers to the department, the Sun-Times reported.

Emanuel said the new officers were part of an effort to increase police presence while taking “kids, guns and gangs off the streets," and nearly two dozen cops were being sent to the South Side Englewood neighborhood.

A man, identified as “Ray” who just moved back to his old neighborhood near one of the deadly shooting scenes this weekend, told the Chicago Tribune he heard gunshots in the past few weeks, but "nothing like this."

"This is the first time I've seen something like this since I've been back," Ray told the Tribune.

The 27-year-old said even though cooler weather has descended on Chicago – meaning fewer people are in the streets – the violence has yet to pause.

"It's never over," Ray said.