Chicago’s murder rate has doubled since this time last year as the city readies for another summer of violence. As of May 25, 2016, 1,382 victims have been shot, compared to 2,988 for the entire 2015 year. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson advised residents that violence will not be tolerated, but included no details on how the Chicago Police Department (CPD) plans to tackle it.
The current number of murders for the third largest city reflect the worst seen in two decades. Chicago is sadly on the pace to witness 600 or more murder for 2016. Out of the 1,382 people who have been shot, at least 244 of them have died of their wounds. This time last year, there were 904 gun wound victims, with 157 fatalities. Police have credited gangs on the city’s West and South Sides for the increase in violence. Johnson released the following statement:
While CPD will remain tireless in its efforts to hold criminals accountable for their actions, we all have a part to play in creating a safer Chicago. In the coming weeks and months, I plan on meeting with and listening to a range of Chicagoans — from activists and elected officials to ministers and parents — to find ways that we can come together to build mutual trust and lasting partnerships that will make our streets safer for everyone.
The murder rate has doubled since 2015. The citizen-to-police morale dropped drastically after LaQuan McDonald’s murder video footage was released. Since that time, the “City of Bullets” has experienced three different police chiefs. Gary McCarthy was fired soon after the McDonald video came out. He was replaced by John Escalante as the interim superintendent. Now, Johnson, a 27-year career veteran of the CPD, has taken his place. The city has high hopes for the police veteran as one who has been “touched with the city’s infirmities” and notably remembers being stopped without cause as a teen by law enforcement. Johnson is very popular within the CPD and will hopefully boost the morale, bridge the gap and level the violence.
On January 1, 2016, Chicago entered an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which mandates law enforcement fill out a form for every “stop and frisk” performed on the city streets. Previously, the ACLU found that minorities were being targeted disproportionately. Since the new policy was put in place, these stops have dropped about 90 percent within the first three months of 2016, while gun arrests have increased significantly since the new forms were put in place.
Although Chi-Town has experienced one of the biggest homicide increases of any city, it is not the only one bracing for a deadlier year. According to data released by the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCC), roughly 30 major cities across the United States have reported a surge in homicides this year. The MCC is a professional organization of police executives representing the largest cities in the United States and Canada. The organization provides a unique forum for sheriffs, urban police, and other law enforcement executives to dialogue about common problems including sharing strategies and information.
Some of the cities with the largest increase in violence are San Antonio, Nashville, Memphis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and of course, the Windy City. The rate of violence in Chicago is at an all time high. The murder rate has already doubled since this time last year. Residents and law enforcement have expressed concerns as they face an even deadlier 2016.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Chicago Tribune: Shootings running 50 percent higher than last year as Chicago braces for the summer
USA Today: Chicago’s murder rate soars 72% in 2016; shootings up more than 88%
WHRO: Chicago grapples with worst murder rate in two decades
Major Cities Chiefs: Research
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