chicago gun violence

Chicago Homicide Rate Soars Again, 51 Killings Happened In January

Chicago’s homicide spiked once again, hitting a 15-year high in January. Last month, the city with some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country logged 51 murders. There was a total of 241 shootings in President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown, a significant jump from the 119 shootings that occurred during the same time period in 2015.

The Chicago homicide rate in January 2015 included 29 murders. In 2013, during the first month of the year, police officials reported to Mayor Rahm Emanuel that 20 killings had taken place. The mounting rate of violent crime in the city was attributed primarily to street gangs, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante deemed the homicide rate statistics an “unacceptable” increase in violence born basically from gang conflicts and acts of retaliation between the constantly warring street groups.

Many gang members have a criminal record, which bars them from buying or possessing a gun legally. Second Amendment activists often point to Chicago as an example of why stiff gun control laws do not work. If all the hurdles do not stop Chicago gun crime because the violence is being conducted by those who do not buy their guns legally, there is no need for more such regulations, NRA supporters often argue.

Gun control advocates and some Chicago officials have claimed that guns are being sold to area residents from nearby locations where firearms laws are far less restrictive. The argument may appear logical on its face, but the fact that crime rates in adjacent counties and states are significantly lower seems to contradict the blaming claims.

Economic woes are also frequently cited when gun violence in Chicago and other urban areas is debated. Rural regions throughout America are also filled with low-income families and young people with few living wage job opportunities. In rural areas, the violent crime rate is very low, even though the majority of households contain a gun.

“The vast majority of incidents originated from petty disagreements that escalated into gun violence that tore apart families. Chicagoans should know that detectives are making progress in January’s investigations and have already solved 14 murder cases this month,” the interim Chicago police superintendent added.

Chicago police officer made fewer stops of citizens in January. The lack of contact with potential suspects likely stems from an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU), which mandates that new documentation by police officers accompany any such encounters, the local newspaper reports.

Every time a member of the Chicago PD engages in anything from a traffic stop to a crime investigation, he or she must complete a two-page form about the incident. Some officers told the Sun-Times that the added burden of the ACLU paperwork has some of the force opting against making stops which they would have done in the past. The emerging issue, dubbed by local as the “ACLU Effect,” has reportedly resulted in 79 percent fewer traffic violation cards being filled out in January 2106 as were handed down during the first month of last year.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel faced a massive call for him to step down after police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with the murder of teenager Laquan McDonald. The white police officers are accused of shooting the black teen a total of 16 times, Fox News notes. The mayor fired police superintendent Garry McCarthy, and a Justice Department investigation was launched to investigate civil rights violations within the Chicago Police Department.

Why do you think the Chicago homicide rates continues to surge despite strict gun control laws in the city?

[Image via Shutterstock.com]

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