Chicago, the nation's third largest city, ends 2016 with the more homicides than the two larger cities -- New York and Los Angeles -- put together. Everyone is shocked but not everyone is surprised.
More than 750 people were killed in Chicago in 2016, the highest total since 1997, and more than 3,500 were wounded by firearms.
Dr. Gary Slutkin, a University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologist who founded the CeaseFire Illinois violence-reduction program also known as CureViolence, saw this plague coming.
He warned Gov. Bruce Rauner in a March 2015 letter of a probable surge in Chicago shootings if the program's funding was not restored. The $4.5 million grant represented most of the funding for CeaseFire Illinois, which serves sites across six cities in the state. "Lives depend on this program," he wrote.
Sure, just about every social service program makes life-or-death pleas when its funding is cut. But this doctor had some startling statistics on his side.
Slutkin had seen similar interruptions in funding precede violent crime surges in Chicago four times since CeaseFire took to the Windy City's streets in 2001. That's too often to be brushed off as mere coincidence.