Although fatalities dropped from 10 deaths over Independence Day in 2015, Chicago’s 2016 July 4 weekend saw four killed and 62 injured in gun violence across the city.
The 62 injured included a five-year-old girl, an eight-year-old, and an 11-year-old. All three were injured by stray gunfire.
Commenting on the slight reduction in violence and the fact six fewer were killed in contrast to 2015, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters the situation is improving.
“We’re making progress. It’s not success yet, but this goes a long way,” he said.
Despite what Johnson calls progress from the whole of 2015, where injuries from guns eclipsed 2,900, Chicago remains on pace to shatter those totals with 2,021 injured as of the first week of July.
Homicides rose 72 percent over last year, and gun crime has risen an astounding 88 percent from 2015 levels. Chicago has witnessed 315 homicides in 2016, a number resembling some of the most violent years of the mid-to-late 90s.
Johnson met with reporters and renewed his call for stronger penalties for those who commit crimes with guns, echoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s July 1 announcement he had joined with members of the Illinois State General Assembly to advocate for a bill lengthening prison stays for repeat gun offenders.
The crime wave escalated over the Independence Day holiday despite the fact Chicago tapped an additional 5,000 officers for overtime to strengthen police presence at popular tourist venues, parks, streets and heavily-traveled areas for festivities.
[RT News] Photo courtesy Chicago Sun Times]