Historical trends have long shown a link between hot summers, long holiday weekends, and upticks in violent crime — and Chicago, Illinois, once again appears to exemplify that troubling association.
The Windy City is plagued by high levels of gun violence even under ordinary circumstances, but the three-day Independence Day weekend proved to be a veritable bloodbath on the city’s streets.
Police superintendent speaks out
Between Friday and Monday, at least 100 people were shot, 18 of whom died of their injuries, according to Breitbart.
The surge following an exceptionally violent Thursday with 32 people shot in one day, including an infant struck in the head by a stray round.
WLS reported on Tuesday that at least 100 people had been shot over the course of the subsequent weekend, marking an increase over the 87 shootings and 17 deaths recorded during last year’s July 4 weekend.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown noted in a press conference on Tuesday that two of his officers were among those shot over the weekend.
He went on to herald the efforts of those on the police force to address the violence, blaming the local justice system for exacerbating the situation with a soft-on-crime approach.
“Too many violent offenders”
“No one else would do the brave and courageous work the men and women of the Chicago Police Department do every day,” Brown said. “There are too many violent offenders and too little consequences in our courts. There are too many illegal guns in our city.”
As the Associated Press noted, the police superintendent offered specific criticism during the recent press conference, asserting: “The courts releasing people charged with murder back into the communities…is creating an unsafe environment for all of us.”
According to data compiled by the Chicago Sun-Times, there had already been at least 1,892 shooting incidents in the city between Jan. 1 and June 28. That represents a 12% increase over the same period last year.
There had also been at least 330 gun-related fatalities this year even before the deaths of this past weekend were included. While shooting incidents this year surpassed 2020 numbers, shooting deaths remain slightly lower.
It remains to be seen whether local police will be able to gain the upper hand against surging violence, which would likely require city and state courts to put an end to what Brown described as a revolving door for violent offenders.