It’s a good thing that Rahm Emanuel isn’t up for election again for a while because I have no idea how a politician (even a Democrat) manages to spin numbers like these. Chicago experienced its most bloody weekend of the year right before Halloween, racking up 18 murders. That single snapshot alone would be bad enough, but the Windy City has now pushed their murder rate past 600. These numbers aren’t just horrible… they’re the worst that have been seen since some of the city’s youngest voters were in diapers. (Washington Post)
As a brutal year continues in Chicago, the city’s spiking homicide numbers have resulted in grim milestones and headlines. It took only until the end of Labor Day weekend for the city to have more homicides this year than it did in all of last year. There are only two American cities with bigger populations than Chicago — New York and Los Angeles — and even if you combine their homicide totals, the tally still lags behind the Windy City.
Recent days have seen a wave of bloodshed that gave the city still more tragedy and, with it, further reminders of how staggering the violence has been this year. Over the weekend, police say 18 people were killed, making it the deadliest weekend for Chicago this year (exceeding the 13 people killed over the long Labor Day weekend and the 13 killed during Father’s Day weekend in June).
Police statistics released Tuesday show that the weekend’s violence pushed the city’s homicide total north of 600 for the first time since 2003, a figure that comes with two full months left in the year. At its current pace, Chicago could have more than 730 homicides this year, possibly eclipsing the city’s highest death toll in nearly two decades.
Those projections, if they hold anywhere near the current average, represent not just an “uptick” as some liberal commenters prefer to say, but a return to the bad old days. Without some sort of drastic turnaround, Chicago will record more than 700 murders this year. We haven’t seen those kinds of numbers since Bill Clinton was in office. From 1991 through 1995 the murder rate in the city went over 800 but it steadily decreased after that until 2013 when it began to rise again. Now it’s completely out of control.
The reason is obvious and has been admitted openly by police officers… it’s the gangs. As we discussed back in July, the police have been thwarted in their efforts to deal with gang violence on a large scale and many of them are frustrated by the fact that the gang bangers not only act freely, but they have neither respect for nor fear of the cops. And with a population in some parts of the city which is too afraid of the gangs to speak out, community cooperation in finding and bringing in the bad guys is a missing piece of the puzzle.
But what are too many community leaders focusing on? Getting a special prosecutor in the trial of the cop who shot Laquan McDonald. That shooting may or may not have been justified, but we need to put things in context here. Between 2010 and 2015 there were an average of roughly 14 suspects killed during lethal force encounters with police per year. That may sound like a high number to you, but can we pause here and compare 14 to 700? People are being mowed down in record numbers on the streets of Chicago and it’s not by the police. If the community won’t pitch in more to help curb this trend, Rahm Emanuel’s city is going to be a war zone for a long time to come.