More than 400 people have been shot in Chicago in August, making it the most violent month in the city for nearly 20 years.

There have been 78 homicides this month alone, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing data provided by the city's police department.

On Friday (26 August), Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade, was killed after she was shot in the head and arm. Aldridge, 32, was pushing a baby stroller after enrolling one of her children in school when she was hit by stray bullets.

Following Aldridge's death, nine people were killed and 50 others shot in the Windy City over the weekend. Murders have soared by 49% compared to last year with more than 450 in 2016 alone.

The gun violence gripping Chicago has been attributed to a number of factors, including rising gang altercations and more guns available on the streets. "It's primarily being driven by gang-related activity, and the fact that criminals in these communities believe they are less likely to be stopped by police so they are choosing to carry guns," former US counterterrorism official, John Cohen told ABC News.

"So when a confrontation occurs it's more likely going to turn into a shooting," he added. "People are scared of being involved in a confrontation where another person has a gun and they don't. So people in these communities are carrying guns, because their perceiving the police being less proactive in trying to find people carrying guns."

"It's a whole different risk question for them... They would rather take the risk of being caught with a gun illegally than not having a gun if they're involved in a confrontation with another gang member," Cohen said.

So far this year, Chicago has seen 487 homicides and 2,800 shootings. In comparison, there were 491 homicides and 2,988 shootings in the whole of 2015, the Chicago Tribune noted.

Earlier this month, 10-year-old Tavon Tanner was shot in the back as he played with his sister on their front porch. He was among 19 people shot that day, nine of whom were killed, making it the bloodiest day in 13 years for the city. In July, 65 homicides were recorded in Chicago – the most for that month in the last decade.