Chicago Police Deploy More Officers as Death Toll Hits 500
Despite a boost in police numbers, Chicago, Illinois has recorded its 500th homicide for the year, with 11 people killed and more than 30 wounded in shooting incidents over the weekend.
Among those killed was a pregnant woman, and two people who lived on the same block, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Four people were killed in Brighton Park on Friday as they traveled in a car, police said, adding that the latest bloodshed resulted from an ongoing gang war in the Southwest Side neighborhood.
The neighborhoods of Brighton Park and Back of the Yards have been the scene of dozens of rifle shootings since early 2016. In February, rival gangs were reported to have stepped up their use of assault rifles.
Last year was the most violent in Chicago in decades, with many residents using the nickname "Chiraq" to compare it to Middle Eastern war zones.
In the first four months of 2017, more than 1,000 people were shot and nearly 200 homicides were reported in Chicago. Last year was the most violent in Chicago for the past 20 years, reaching 500 homicides by late August.
Over 2,700 people were shot in Chicago this year, a more than 11 percent decrease from the 3,066 shot during the same time last year, according to Tribune data. So far, the number of homicides is down about 7 percent from this time last year, according to the Tribune. The city of 2.7 million still has the second-highest violent crime rate in the US.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, announced Sunday that nearly 100 new Chicago police officers have hit the streets, according to WBN-TV.
Nearly two dozen are to be stationed in Englewood on the South Side, which has a predominately African American population (93 percent) and some of the city’s poorest housing and inadequate services.
Emanuel said the new officers are part of an effort to increase the police presence while taking “kids, guns and gangs off the streets.”
“The Englewood community is one of the toughest, and they’re leading in the decline in the city and we want to see that in every neighborhood,” the mayor said in a statement.
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