BLOODY WEEKEND: 72 shot and 13 killed in Chicago as mayor warns of city's moral breakdown
A violent weekend in Chicago left 12 people dead and dozens more wounded while no arrests have yet been made in any of the incidents
Chicago witnessed one of its bloodiest weekends with at least 72 people shot and 13 killed. Although the national homicide rate is experiencing record lows, the "Windy City" continues to be embroiled in frequent eruptions of violence, with countless murders and shootings taking place every week.
According to law enforcement authorities, no arrests have yet been made in any of the incidents. However, quite a few strong leads have emerged for some of the shootings, police said. "There is a shortage of values about what is right, what is wrong," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "We, as a city, in every corner, have an accountability and responsibility. If you know who did this, be a neighbor. Speak up."
Police say that the brunt of the violence is faced by low-income black and Latino neighborhoods on the city’s West and South Sides and is primarily fueled by gangs.
That said, the latest shootings came just days after city officials claimed to have made headway in bringing down gun violence in Chicago. The shootings continued for a staggering 60 hours from Friday evening until early Monday morning, according to reports.
The city had recorded over 300 murders by the end of July. Astonishingly, while the number is more than any other city in the US, it is an improvement for Chicago. Officials reported that the city tallied 19% fewer shooting incidents along with a 23% drop in murders as compared to last year at the same point.
However, the violence this weekend magnified the fact that several neighborhoods remain volatile even as the city witnesses a positive trend in crime. The murder clearance rate was close to 20% last year after cops solved or made arrests in few of the killings.
Nonetheless, the alarming murder rate has become a major issue for Emanuel who will be back in the mayoral race come February.
“What Chicago witnessed this weekend was absolutely horrific and should not be tolerated," mayoral challenger Paul Vallas said. "Right now, Chicago has one of the worst clearance rates for homicides and other violent crimes among America’s major cities. This is a crisis in which four out of five killers in Chicago are literally getting away with murder."
According to Ira Acree, co-chairman of the Leaders Network-Chicago and a pastor on the city’s West Side, this weekend’s violence shows that two Chicagos exist – one that is thriving and largely inoculated from the shootings and another ravaged by a lack of investment and indifference from the city’s politicians, reported USA Today.
“Chicago's political leadership – Emanuel and City Council – won't address the poverty that fuels the frustration, anger, and self-hatred which leads to violence,” Acree said. “As a concerned citizen and pastor, I am against all forms of violence – urban, domestic and police violence – but until we confront the institutional economic violence being committed at City Hall, substantial transformation will never take place.”