CHICAGO — City leaders say the warm weather played a factor in the spike in violence across Chicago this weekend but preparations in place, thought to address the rise in crime, weren’t enough.
Ald. Bryan Hopkins (2nd Ward) spoke out Monday, following a violent weekend that saw 42 people shot across 32 incidents, eight of which were fatal. The incidents occurred between 6 p.m. Friday through midnight Sunday.
“We knew the first warm weekend, whether it’s late April or early May, it’s always around the same time every year, and we were expecting this to happen,” Hopkins said. “We thought we had a plan, and it didn’t work.”
City leaders’ plan involved making arrests, police intervening when fights broke out and using surveillance video to track people carrying weapons. Hopkins says there are not enough resources, however. A contributing factor, Hopkins says, is the Chicago Police Department is down t least 2,000 patrolmen.
“We had 911 calls not being responded to for up to two hours over the weekend because of the backlog, and we simply didn’t have enough police to go around,” Hopkins said.
Residents across Chicago have voiced their concerns.
“We don’t go out at night anymore,” River North resident Barbara Graham told WGN News on Sunday.
Some who live and work in the area remain unphased by the violence.
“Unfortunately, the city is just kind of getting used to this kind of thing, so it was sort of just business as usual,” Gregg Schwartz said Sunday.
Around 10 p.m. Saturday in River North Saturday night, shots rang near Hubbard and LaSalle as a large crowd waited to get into a bar.
Eslan Daoud was bartending around the corner and witnessed the aftermath of the shooting.
“It was pretty chaotic,” he said. “I mean, it happened a lot last summer too.”
Another incident on Sunday night, this time in Edgewater, saw two people taken to the hospital.
Community activist Donovan Price says senseless crime is alarming.
“It’s sad. It’s frustrating to see people so frustrated,” Price said. “To see seniors scared to come outside, to see kids scared to do what they are supposed to do at their age.”
City leaders say after the bloody weekend, they’ll be reviewing the plans they had in place.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and see what adjustments can be made,” says Hopkins, “because to start off the summer this way is really getting off on the wrong foot.”