"In Chicago, they've had thousands of shootings, thousands since Jan. 1. Thousands of shootings."

Donald Trump on Monday, September 26th, 2016 in a Presidential debate

Donald Trump says Chicago has experienced thousands of shootings this year

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tangled Monday night over trade, taxes and how to bring good-paying jobs back to the United States as they opened their first face-to-face presidential debate. (Sept. 26)

Lester Holt asked the major presidential candidates in their first debate how they would heal the nation’s racial divide, exacerbated by police shootings of unarmed African-Americans.

Democrat Hillary Clinton called for a top-to-bottom re-examination of the criminal justice system to prevent uneven treatment of minorities under the law.

Republican Donald Trump, stuck to his "law and order" approach, painting a bleak portrait of life for African-Americans and Hispanics "living in hell because it’s so dangerous."

He zeroed in on Chicago, President Barack Obama’s hometown.

"In Chicago, they've had thousands of shootings, thousands since Jan. 1. Thousands of shootings," Trump said.

Has Chicago had thousands of shootings so far this year?

Trump’s campaign showed us an article published on Forbes Sept. 8 that says of Chicago, "In 2015, 2,988 people were shot and 2016′s figure already stands at 2,949."

The Chicago Tribune, which tracks neighborhood crimes through its Crime in Chicagoland project, has data supporting that shooting count for 2015.

And as far as this year goes? From Jan. 1 to Sept. 26, there have been 3,210 shooting victims, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The publication says the data it compiles is not the same as what the city offers, so numbers will not match those tracked by the city. "One shooting incident may have multiple victims, but it still counts officially as only one shooting," the Chicago Tribune site says.

Even then, data released by the Chicago Police Department also shows there have been 2,521 shooting incidents in the city up to Sept. 18.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered a speech Sept. 22 addressing high levels of crime in his city and ways to combat it, outlining a need for more policing, more jobs and crime prevention.

"Gun violence in Chicago is unacceptable. ... It is pulling us apart at the very moment that our city needs us to come together," Emanuel said, according to the Tribune. "For all the things that make Chicago great, for all the things that make us proud to call ourselves Chicagoans, the violence that is happening corrodes our core. It is not the Chicago we know, and it is not the Chicago we love."

While the number of shooting victims so far this year have surpassed 2015, it’s important to note that they do not represent homicides, experts told us. (However, the Tribune’s count of 550 homicides so far in 2016 also outnumbers the 2015 tally of 492 homicides.)

"The word ‘shooting’ does not distinguish based on severity of the wound or the type of crime," said Adam Lankford, a criminology professor at the University of Alabama. Shooting statistics also include people who shot themselves by mistake.

A shooting is simply a gun being fired, not someone being shot or killed, said Dewey Cornell, director of the Virginia Youth Violence Project at the University of Virginia.

The city’s numbers are striking, but Cornell said violent crime in Chicago is much lower than it was 20 years ago, mirroring the national trend.

When you have a flare-up in gang warfare in any community, there will be large increases in gun homicides, and Chicago has for more than a century had a gang problem that is much greater than other cities like New York, Cornell said.

"There has been an increase in gun violence in Chicago in recent years, but Chicago does not represent the U.S. and is atypical of other large cities, so it does not make sense to use Chicago as an example to understand crime in the U.S.," Cornell added.

A plausible explanation for the rise in shootings in Chicago is that gangs have been displaced from their former turf by the demolition of some housing projects, said George A. Mocsary, an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University School of Law.

"Violence has ensued as the displaced gang members try to move into new territory claimed by other gangs," Mocsary said.

Our ruling

Trump said, "In Chicago, they've had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1st. Thousands of shootings."

There have been more than 3,000 shooting victims in Chicago so far this year, according to media reports and gun violence experts.

The count of shootings includes all types of shootings, including shootings of more than one person and on accident, and it should not be taken as a substitute for "homicides."

We rate Trump’s statement True.