Chicago, IL – After a violent weekend in the city, with drive-by shootings claiming nine lives and 37 more injured, and virtually no leads in the subsequent investigation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pleading with Chicago citizens to end the culture of silence and come forward with any information related to the city’s violent gangland activities.
“I’d like to remind everybody that it also requires a community to step up,” Emanuel said Monday at an unrelated press conference. “You’re not a snitch, you have a role in community policing.”
Chicago is notoriously known for its extraordinary violence and and culture of silence. “Snitches” are punished severely: Last year, a Chicago mother was arrested after she reportedly drove her son and an accomplice to shoot a person believed to be a snitch. The year before that, a dying 17-year-old victim refused to confess his killer’s name, taking the secret of his murder to the grave. Stories like this reflect the wider Chicago crime culture, a place where silence is valued, and criminal acts continue to increase in their violence and severity.
Last week, dozens were shot in a series of suspected gangland drive-by shootings, and community activist Andrew Holmes says some of the victims are keeping consistent the tradition of silence. “The persons have been struck by gunfire, they need to step up and speak up for us,” he said. “Nine times out of 10, they knew who was firing the shot at them.”
Emanuel’s pleas reflect predecessor Richard Daly’s continuous public appeals to end the “silence of violence” in Chicago. Those please continue to fall on deaf ears.
Though Chicago police have made hundreds of arrests and weapon confiscations over the weekend, Emanuel suggested that such activity is only a short-term fix, calling for stricter gun laws in the state.
“We can keep doing that,” he said, “but we have to pass stronger gun laws in this state. We’re not talking about repealing conceal/ carry, but making sure we have a tougher set of laws dealing with assault weapons and other types of guns.”