The homicide rate in Chicago has reached a 20 year high. As of Tuesday morning there had been 512 murders in America’s third largest city. However, Chicago’s police department says that only 488 of those murders fall under their jurisdiction. At the pace murders are being committed, Chicago is poised to record over 600 murders for the year. In August 2016 alone there were 92 murders within city limits.
With over 500 murders tallied in 2016 by the end of labor day weekend Chicago’s murder rate is higher than the country’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and New York, combined.
Holiday weekends have proven to be extremely violent and deadly. Over the course of Father’s Day weekend this past June, there were twelve murders n Chicago. The youngest victim was just 16 years old.
Labor Day weekend was not much safer, over the course of 14 hours on Monday alone, nine people were murdered. The majority of the city’s homicides had happened in predominately poor communities such as the Austin and Englewood. The neighborhoods are gang filled and the back and forth gang violence has every day citizens fearful to walk the streets.
Many of these murders appear to be committed by more than the common criminal, in fact many have been perpetrated by cowards. A record number of non fatal an fatal shootings in Chicago occur during drive by shootings. These cowards with guns shoot up their own communities, killing children and innocent bystanders.
Chicago street violence recently touched basketball star Dwayne Wade’s family recently. The athletes cousin, Nykea Aldridge, was hit by a stray bullet last month as she pushed her newborn in a stroller. The young mother had just left her children’s school to register them for the new year. Two men have been arrested in connection with her death. Derren Sorrells, 22, one of the men arrested had recently been released from prison. Sorrells had six felony convictions prior to his arrest in relation to the Aldridge murder.
Chicago’s police department and elected officials are well aware of the problem repeat offenders pose to the community. “We keep coming upon the same facts: Repeat gun offenders who continually run in and out of the criminal justice system with no consequences who are back on the streets wreaking havoc,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said earlier this week.
“It’s important that we all Draw our heads around what’s going on here in Chicago,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters yesterday. “We need to enact tougher penalties, so these individuals know their actions will not go without consequences. Until then, you’re going to keep seeing the same results on the streets.”
Chicago police have compiled a list of people predicted to be either victims or perpetrators of homicide it calls the Strategic Subject List. An algorithm is used to calculate arrest information, gang affiliation, shooting patterns and other data to predict the probability of a known criminal being involved in a shooting. There are approximately 1,400 people on the Strategic Subject List. In a show of accuracy, 70 % of victims of of gun violence in Chicago this year have been on the list. Additionally, 80% of the shooters were on the list as well. While the list has an accurate way of determining who may be involved in gun crimes, it does nothing to assist police in stopping these shootings before they occur.
“We are targeting the correct individuals,” Superintendent Johnson has said. “We just need our judicial partners and our state legislators to hold these people accountable.”
Superintendent Johnson, frustrated with the amount of out of state guns being brought into the city, told reporters “We border Indiana and Wisconsin, which have really lax gun laws,” Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. “We know that people from Chicago go across the border, fill up gym bags with illegal weapons from gun shows and things of that nature and they come back here and sell them to the gangs.”
In an effort to combat the out of state guns that are used in 60% of Chicago shootings, Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed a new gun control law imposing harsher penalties on gun traffickers who sell out of state gun in Illinois without a gun owners card.
In 2015 Chicago has 480 murders throughout the course of the year. The last time there were more murders in the city was 2003 when there were 601 murders.