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Your Thursday afternoon briefing

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that w
Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition
Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
— Alice Bazerghi (@AliceBazerghi)

Happy New Year’s Eve! This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 29 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 23 degrees. The forecast for the first day of the year? Rain, snow, freezing rain and sleet all before 3 p.m.; the high will be 34 degrees.
Top story
Fifteen people were wounded in a shooting in July at a funeral home on 79th Street in Auburn Gresham. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Fifteen people were wounded in a shooting in July at a funeral home on 79th Street in Auburn Gresham. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
An 8-year-old girl, fatally shot while riding in a car with family members in Canaryville.
A popular South Side rapper, killed in a daylight shooting along the city’s ritziest shopping corridor.
A mother of two, stabbed to death while at work at a Wicker Park Walgreens store.
A well-known and influential gang member, shot and killed while driving in a part of Humboldt Park that’s long been a hotbed for gang conflicts and open-air drug markets.
After three consecutive years of declining violence, Chicago’s murder tally soared in 2020 as city leaders — including a new Chicago police superintendent — were forced to confront widespread civil unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Dec. 31, the city recorded 774 murders in 2020, an increase of more than 50% from the 506 murders in 2019, according to a database maintained by us. The uptick was felt across the city, as 20 of the CPD’s 22 police districts recorded more murders in 2020 than the year before. The number of overall shooting incidents skyrocketed, too, rising from 2,120 in 2019 to 3,237 as of Dec. 27, 2020.
The department’s murder clearance rate on the year stands at 45.6%, with detectives closing 350 murder cases in 2020 — the most in a single year since 2005, according to CPD spokesman Don Terry. The department’s clearance rate in 2019 was 53%.
CPD Supt. David Brown has, on many occasions, said a “perfect storm” of factors led to the year’s spike in violence, and a multi-pronged approach is needed to tamp down killings.
“Public safety is an all-hands-on-deck effort that requires not only the police, but street outreach workers, faith leaders, the courts, community organizations, and residents all working together,” Brown said in a statement today. “The best way to reduce crime and violence is to prevent it from happening in the first place by building bridges and trust in the community.”
Nearly a quarter of all 2020 murders happened in three West Side districts: Harrison, Ogden and Austin. Together, they accounted for 220 killings over the year, with the Harrison District alone recording 99 murders through today, according to police statistics. CPD officials say detectives cleared 99 murder cases in those three districts in 2020.
What’s more, 2020 gave way to the single deadliest day in Chicago’s modern history. On May 31 — as the city was roiled by protests and looting spurred by the killing of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer — Chicago recorded a staggering 18 murders in 24 hours.
In fact, 2020 will go down as Chicago’s second-deadliest year in the past two decades — behind only 2016, when the city saw 784 murders, according to the CPD.
More news you need
  1. Murders weren’t the only thing to skyrocket this year: Chicago saw 1,362 carjackings in 2020 — a 105% increase compared to 2019. All 22 Chicago police districts saw an increase in carjackings, but they were highest in some South and West Side neighborhoods.
  2. Illinois closed out 2020 with 8,009 new cases of COVID-19 and 133 more deaths attributed to it, keeping the state’s pandemic numbers slowly creeping upward as the battered state heads into the new year. So far, the coronavirus has infected at least 963,389 people across Illinois, and killed 16,490 of them.
  3. The Christmas Day murder of a transgender woman has “shaken” the city’s transgender community, the head of a South Side, Black-led LGBTQ center said. Courtney Eshay Key was “trying to better herself” before she was fatally shot in Chatham, said LaSaia Wade, director of Brave Space Alliance.
  4. A former temp agency worker at Northwestern Memorial Hospital may have inappropriately viewed patient records, the hospital this week. The hospital said it found out about the incident on Dec. 2.
A bright one
Chicago viaducts are notoriously dingy places, often dank and crumbling.
But not the railroad underpass on Peoria Street between 16th Street and 16th Place in Pilsen.
With more than 30 artists working in a variety of styles, its walls were transformed over one long weekend in October into a series of elaborate murals, becoming a colorful outdoor gallery.
There is a painting of a woman — with no mouth and no pupils but a lot of very blue hair. There’s a face with thick eyebrows and neon-outlined flowers in her hair, representing the 20th-century Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. In another piece, reddish skulls are set against a green landscape that includes spaceships lifting off.
This mural was done by South Side native Megan Kind, who lives in East Humboldt Park. | Robert Herguth/Sun-Times
This mural was done by South Side native Megan Kind, who lives in East Humboldt Park. | Robert Herguth/Sun-Times
The project was overseen by Delilah Martinez, owner of the Vault Gallerie in Pilsen and the force behind the “Mural Movement” that’s been creating “Black and Brown unity murals” across Chicago since racial unrest erupted this past summer.
Martinez said viaducts “connect communities” yet often “have a reputation as dark and scary.” But, she said, “People want their communities to look good.”
The project was a collective effort between the artists volunteering their time and neighbors, donors and city officials.
From the press box
Mitch Trubisky feels good entering the Bears-Packers season finale with his future hanging in the balance. So does Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers – which usually isn’t a great sign. Can the Bears pull out the Week 17 win to clinch their playoff spot? Our experts made their picks.
One player who’s definitely excited for the game is Robert Quinn, who hopes to “finally make my mark for the city” in the final game of a disappointing first season for the veteran pass rusher.
Your daily question  ☕
What are your goals for 2021?
Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday, we asked you: What’s your favorite thing to do during Chicago’s first big snow of the year? Here’s what some of you said…
“Check out the footprints in the morning to see what’s been lurking around during the night.” — Carol Wortel
“Stay home and watch the snow from my window.” — Sheila Hodges
“Staying at home with a warm blanket and a cup of hot coffee.” — Iwona Kelsch
“Make snow angels.” — Natalie Kotz
Phil Hodgson 🌐
@Suntimes Leave the state for somewhere with nicer weather.
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