Image copyright AP Image caption A man shoots and kills a mother and her daughter in Chicago’s Englewood neighbourhood in October
Homicides in the city of Chicago rose to 207 so far this year, passing the 1,000 mark for the first time since 1994.
Deaths spiked, ahead of recent police reforms meant to fight police misconduct.
According to data from The Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, crime has also increased in many other communities across the city and the county.
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Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Sunday that the city’s civilian police oversight agency had “made great progress” in responding to police misconduct.
He also said the killings were part of a “murder culture” in the city.
Armed “parties” have killed more people than any other group this year, including rival gangs. Shootings rose from 174 to 285 in the same period.
The rise in violence has followed months of protests over the police shooting of Laquan McDonald.
That 2014 shooting prompted reforms that have curbed the use of excessive force by police officers.
Last week, activists and elected officials called for the release of a videotape of McDonald’s killing. The city has said the video cannot be released because of the ongoing police investigation into it.
Officials from the department have apologised to McDonald’s family after their original response to the shooting was seen as “deeply flawed”.
Mr Johnson said Sunday that police officers were expected to remain responsible for protecting the public, despite the challenges in keeping order.