Chicago's murder rate at highest level for 19 years with 762 killings

Los Angeles and New York, in comparison, had around 600 murders combined

Chicago's murder rate at highest level for 19 years with 762 killings

General view of the downtown Chicago city skyline. Picture by Nam Y. Huh AP/Press Association Images

Last year was one of the bloodiest on record in Chicago, with 762 murders and more than 3,500 shootings.

Police statistics from 2016 show there were nearly 300 more killings and more than 1,000 more shooting incidents than in 2015.

The number of murders was the highest since 1997.

By comparison, America's two biggest cities, Los Angeles and New York, had around 600 murders combined.

The majority of the killings were in five of Chicago's poorest neighbourhoods on the south and west sides, where street gangs are the most active.

A total of 8,300 illegal guns were recovered in 2016, up 20% from the year before.

One of those who was killed in 2016 was mother-of-four Nykea Aldridge, who was pushing her three-week-old baby in a pushchair when she was caught up in a gun fight between two men.

In March, Brian Fields was shot in the street while streaming live on Facebook, but survived. He was killed in another shooting in October.

On Saturday, hundreds of people carrying crosses for each person killed in the city marched quietly along Michigan Avenue.

The 3ft-tall crosses were engraved with the name of a murder victim, with the silence broken by demonstrators who spoke the names out loud.