54 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend, Mayor Lightfoot says things are looking up

In Chicago, 54 people were shot and five were killed over the weekend.

There have been at least 54 people shot, five fatally, in shootings across Chicago since Friday night. A woman was also fatally stabbed on Wacker Drive in the Loop.

In the most recent fatal attack, a man was shot dead while driving in Humboldt Park early Sunday.

The 21-year-old was driving a Jeep about 1:40 a.m. in the 3100-block of West Augusta Boulevard when a car pulled up next to him and someone inside fired shots, Chicago police said.

The man was shot in the head, police said. A passenger in the Jeep drove him to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

One of the murders this weekend was caught on tape. There was a minor traffic accident during the Puerto Rican Day Parade and people pulled the female driver out of the vehicle and shot her and her boyfriend. 24-year-old Gyovanny Arzuaga was killed.

Here’s a photo of Arzuaga who was a father of two:

That had both Mayor Lightfoot and Police Superintendent Brown sounding a bit defensive.

“The reality is June over June, we’re seeing a downward trend in both homicides and shootings,” Mayor Lightfoot said…

There were seven fewer murders this Father’s Day weekend compared to last year and 24 fewer shooting victims, according to Chicago police.

“We’re seeing a downward trajectory where other cities are continuing to see a climb. Now, I’m the first to tell you that’s cold comfort to a single person that’s been shot, a single person who’s been killed,” Lightfoot said…

Although the violence make people feel less safe, Superintendent Brown insists violence is down.

Those figures are accurate but also a bit misleading. If you look at the city’s own update of weekly statistics you can see that murders were down 4% compared to the same week last year but that difference is exactly one murder, i.e. there were 27 last year and only 26 this year. So when the Mayor says there were seven fewer murders compared to last year she’s apparently talking about just the weekend tally without including the other murders that happened during the week. Again, if you look at the full week, the difference is one murder.

More significantly, if you look at the year-to-date stats on the right, you’ll see that despite the dip over the past month, murders are up 4% for the year, with 296 murder at this time last year compared to 307 murders this year. In addition, criminal sexual assault is up 23% compared to last year. Shooting incidents are up 15% over last year. 

So is violence really down? Well, murders and shootings were down for the past month but it’s far too early to tell if the drop we’re seeing is going to last. Keep in mind that one year ago would have been the weeks after the death of George Floyd when violence spiked in many places around the country. Maybe this month only looks good compared to the same month last year because we’re basically comparing the new normal to what was the peak of the surge last year.

Here’s a local news report on the violence which notes that in addition to all the shootings the city is still dealing with a wave of police retirements as well.