CHICAGO — Numbers unveiled by Chicago police on Monday show that shootings across the city are on the rise. But the city says some progress is being made when it comes to homicides.
The declaration comes following another violent weekend across Chicago in which 51 people were shot, eight fatally.
Chicago’s top cop spoke addressed the media on Monday.
“We are on pace to have 12,000 guns recovered in the city, which would be a historic high,” Chicago police Supt. David Brown said.
Getting illegal guns off the streets remains a top priority for the Chicago Police Department, Brown said.
“Gun recovery is 28% higher than last year and gun arrests are 22% higher than last year,” Brown said.
Despite some successes, Chicago police said shootings still plague the city.
“We are up 10% on shootings and that’s consistent with what occurred in June,” Brown said.
Statistics show there have been close to 2,500 people shot in the city so far this year.
“We’re pretty flat on homicides for the year. Slightly down for the month of July,” Brown said.
In July, there were 105 murders in Chicago, compared to 107 in July of last year. At face value, that might look like a tiny bit of progress, but if you consider 2019, there were 44 murders in July of that year.
A bigger picture tells the same story.
During the first seven months of 2021, there were 445 murders and 446 in the same period of 2020. But back in 2019, there were 290. So in two years, the numbers have gone up by just over 53%, crime data shows.
Brown said similar spikes were seen a few years back.
“The full context of the numbers is not to compare 2021 and 2019,” he said. “It’s to look at the spike in homicides in 2016, just like 2020 occurred and how we’re declining.”
But with thousands of guns being pulled from the wrong hands, citizens and police feel the numbers should be trending downward.
“Being flat is not acceptable,” Brown said.
Brown says the real problem is the release of violent re-offenders, saying that police can’t make significant progress until that’s addressed properly.
“We are going to run in place as a city,” Brown said. “We are going to do great work. We’re going to do historic work. But we’re going to be running in place.”
But the mother of a 15-year-old shooting victim who was killed in a North Lawndale mass shooting last month says the city, state and law enforcement need to do more.
“It’s out of control,” said Brittany Benson, who added that the death of her son Demarion caused her to lose her eyesight. “I feel like they need to do something. Change the laws. Make it harder for guns to get into our city.”