Chicago’s interim police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that Chicago’s violence and record homicide rate are due in part to the proliferation of guns.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the city has already accumulated 135 homicides so far this year, a number not seen in a year’s first quarter since the same time period in 1999, which saw 136 homicides. Last year during the same time period, Chicago saw 79 homicides.
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In addition, shootings are on the rise:
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Shootings have jumped by comparable numbers as well. As of Wednesday, at least 727 people had been shot in Chicago so far this year, a 73 percent rise from 422 a year earlier, according to a Tribune analysis of department data.
Worse yet, that jump follows two consecutive years in which shootings rose by double digits, the analysis found. Homicides also rose by about 12.5 percent last year over 2014.
By comparison, during the same time period, only 60 people were murdered in New York City – down from 75 the year before. In Los Angeles, 67 people were murdered – an increase from 54 during the same time period the prior year. New York and Los Angeles saw 202 and 260 shooting victims, respectively.
Chicago’s record violence is nothing new. For decades, the city has been plagued by rival gang violence, particularly in neighborhoods in the South and West Sides. Also, the city is well known for its strict gun control laws.
But according to the Tribune, Chicago’s interim police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that “gang conflicts and the proliferation of guns continue to fuel the violence.”
Chicago’s record homicide rate and overall violence is acknowledged even in liberal, pro-gun control circles, but it’s blamed on anything from Indiana’s “lax gun laws” to global warming. So far this year, the weather has been milder in the Windy City, which some people say brings more violence.