This is a sad Monday in the Windy City. It seems as if the gang bangers in Chicago are trying to give Baltimore a run for their money. In just a single weekend, the Chicago PD recorded more than fifty shootings leaving ten people dead. And this is all happening in a city with some of the toughest gun laws in the country. (NBC News)
At least 52 people were shot and 10 killed in Chicago’s most violent weekend so far this year, leading police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Monday to declare the uptick a “despicable level of violence.”
At a news conference, Johnson described how police were within blocks of some of the shootings — one commander in the Austin neighborhood was only a half-block away — and how “emboldened some of these individuals are” who opened fire.
Police attributed the majority of the gun violence to gangs, and Johnson ordered targeted patrols in areas where retaliation is likely to occur, including the West Side and the South Side districts.
There were also 92 firearms seized from criminals since Friday. It’s worth noting that Chicago has seen improvements in the homicide rate over recent years. Believe it or not, homicides are actually down seven percent from the same point last year, and that includes Memorial Day weekend when they had 33 people wounded and seven dead from shootings around the city.
I don’t want to make it sounds as if the Chicago PD isn’t trying their best. They’ve added over one thousand news officers on patrol in the past couple of years. They’ve also installed gunshot detection technology in many of the neighborhoods most afflicted by gang violence. And according to the police chief, their recent community outreach programs have been paying off, with more people being willing and able to report crimes anonymously.
But none of it is enough to make major gains. Every year, when the hot weather arrives, the gangs go to war. Nearly every one of those firearms they captured was purchases illegally and there are plenty more where those came from. Chicago is doing a great job of making it harder for law-abiding citizens to legally purchase a firearm, but those laws don’t seem to be scaring the gang members away from the idea of buying on the black market. (Go figure.)
Chicago now has a new mayor in the person of Lori Lightfoot. Her office didn’t respond to a request for comment about the weekend violence, but having a fresh face in charge at City Hall may bring about some reforms that make a difference. We should at least hope so and pray for her success because the bloodshed is simply out of control.