More than 1,000 shot in Chicago since Memorial Day
Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, and in Chicago, it's been a bloody season, indeed.
From Friday to Sunday, six people were killed and another 23 wounded in gun violence across the city. That brings the grisly toll to 1,026 people shot since Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of summer.
Among the latest victims: a 25-year-old doctoral student at Northwestern University. Shane Colombo of Sun City, California, was shot and killed Sunday night while waiting at a bus stop after he was caught in the crossfire of two other people, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Police responded to anther shooting early Sunday on the city's Far South Side where an unidentified male died from an apparent gunshot wound to the chest, WLS reported. The suspect was spotted leaving the scene in a vehicle but police eventually lost sight of him.
On Saturday at around 4 a.m., a 30-year-old woman was killed after someone opened fire on a group of people in an alley on the West Side, WGN reported. She was shot in the back of the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.
From Friday to Sunday, at least 23 people were wounded in apparent shootings including two girls, ages 11 and 17, hit by bullets fired from a drive-by vehicle.
The number of Chicago's children who have been shot is alarming. Since September 2011, at least 174 people under the age of 17 have been killed, while 1,665 kids have been shot. While some of that number are members of street gangs, the vast majority are innocent kids caught in the crossfire.
What is the city doing? Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police superintendent Eddie Johnson have decided to play a shell game with the number of officers they say are deployed.
The first weekend in August, following some 70 people headed to bed or the morgue with extra holes in their bodies, Special Ed flooded the streets with officers:
- After the most violent weekend in Chicago in more than two years, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced Tuesday afternoon that several hundred additional officers have been deployed to neighborhoods most wracked by the shooting.
- At his second news conference in as many days, Johnson said 430 officers have been added to patrols in five of the hardest-hit districts on the West and South sides. Those numbers will increase to 600 by the weekend, he said.
That involved canceling days off, offering huge amounts of overtime and pretty much lying to the media – which ate it up like it was fresh off the griddle. It made a dent in the numbers, but still, over 50 people got shot.
- In an effort to tamp down potential shootings over the historically violent Labor Day holiday weekend, Chicago police will deploy an additional 1,400 officers to patrol the streets.
Wow. From 600 to 1,400 in just four weeks? That's amazing. Special Ed ought to be promoted to "Super-Duper-Intendent" just based on his ability to hire, train and equip 800 additional bodies on short notice.
When Emanuel was elected in 2011, he promised to "cut the fat" from the police budget. He took officers off the street and assigned them to desk duty while initiating a hiring slowdown.
The results were entirely predictable. Now, as the city leaders look to massively increase the police presence on the streets, it will do very little good. The gangs have taken over large swaths of the city's neighborhoods. Dislodging them will take more than additional officers patrolling the streets.
Recommended reforms being considered by a U.S. court judge will only make the situation worse and lower police morale even farther. The city is mired in an existential crisis, with politicians and activists all proposing wrongheaded solutions – including more gun control – to make the streets safer. It may take the deployment of the National Guard to retake the city's streets, because no one in city hall or police headquarters has a clue about how to address the crisis.