Home News Homicides Drop While Opioid Overdose Deaths Continue to Break Records in Cook County

Homicides Drop While Opioid Overdose Deaths Continue to Break Records in Cook County

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Medical Examiner’s Office Releases Preliminary 2022 Data

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office is releasing preliminary statistics for cases it handled in 2022. The Office’s caseload continued to significantly surpass pre-COVID levels, with 10,443 cases falling under the Office’s jurisdiction last year. This is a drop from a peak caseload of 16,047 in 2020 and 12,612 cases in 2021. Before the pandemic began, the Office saw approximately 6,200 deaths in an average year. Nearly 43% of all cases in 2022 were Black and just over 14% Latino.

The Office handled a total of 927 homicides in 2022, 740 in the City of Chicago. Overall homicides fell by more than 15% in Cook County from their peak in 2021.The other County municipalities with the highest number of homicides included Harvey with 15, Dolton with 11, Riverdale with nine and Maywood with eight. African Americans were the victims of 76% of homicides and Latinos accounted for more than 18% of homicide deaths. Males accounted for 86% of homicide deaths.

While overall homicides declined, the number of children killed went up by almost 13% with 97 of the homicide victims under the age of 18; 21 were under the age of 10.

Year

All Homicides

Gun-Related Homicides

Chicago Homicides

2022

927*

817*

740*

2021

1,094

1,007

839

2020

986

881

803

2019

675

588

533

2018

724

598

605

*Preliminary data

The County is also on pace to beat 2021’s record for opioid overdose deaths. While the Office still awaits the results of hundreds of toxicology tests, it has already confirmed 1,599 opioid overdose deaths for 2022. The MEO anticipates that approximately 400 – 500 of its pending cases will be due to opioid toxicity, putting the final number for 2022 over 2,000.

Of the opioid toxicity cases confirmed thus far, approximately 78% are male. African Americans make up 56% of the deaths, Latinos account for just under 15% and whites constitute over 28%. The age group most impacted is 50- to 59-year-olds, accounting for 28% of the overdose deaths. The year’s youngest opioid overdose death in Cook County was a 12-year-old boy from Chicago.

Year

Opioid Overdose Deaths

2022

1,599*

2021

1,936

2020

1,840

2019

1,295

2018

1,138

2017

1,167

2016

1,081

2015

647

*Preliminary data

Overall suicide rates in Cook County have remained consistent. Males continue to make up more than 3/4 of suicide deaths.

Year

Total Suicides

Black

Latino

White

Asian

Other

Male/Female

2022

474*

19.5%

16%

60%

4.5%

0%

78%/22%

2021

506

19%

14%

59%

5.5%

2.5%

77%/23%

2020

453

22%

13%

58%

5%

< 2%

79%/21%

2019

479

12%

16%

66%

6%

< 1%

76%/24%

*Preliminary data

The MEO confirmed 2,479 COVID-19 deaths in 2022. This number does not represent all COVID deaths that occurred in Cook County in 2022 because effective April 1, 2022, the Office stopped taking jurisdiction of hospital, nursing home and hospice COVID-19 deaths unless another factor is present that falls within the Office’s jurisdiction.

To access additional data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, please visit the case archive.

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