In what is even more bad news for a beleaguered city (which also had a teachers strike this week), a new report from the Chicago Police Department confirms that murders in the city rose 72 percent, and shootings increased 88 percent, in the first three months of 2016 in comparison with last year.
USA Today reports that the city has reportedly seen 141 murders this year, compared with 82 murders at the same point last year. Police reported nearly double the number of shootings (677 this year, compared with 359 at the same point in 2015).
Newly appointed interim Superintendent Eddie Johnson had this to say about the news: “In the coming weeks and months, I plan on meeting with and listening to a range of Chicagoans—from activists and elected officials to ministers and parents—to find ways that we can come together to build mutual trust and lasting partnerships that will make our streets safer for everyone.”
Police attribute the astronomical rise in violence to street gangs, and say that the trouble is happening in the mostly black South and West sides of the city.
Yet some, including some police, see the rise in crime as part of a work slowdown after the department came under fire for the troubling Laquan McDonald case as well as aggressive investigative stops (also known as “stop and frisk”).
USA Today reports the Police Department entered an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union, which went into effect Jan. 1, to record encounters for all street stops after the organization criticized the city's police for disproportionately targeting minorities for questioning and searches.
Several CPD officers and sergeants told the Chicago Sun-Times that they’ve avoided aggressive policing since the agreement went into effect, with some calling the uptick in crime the “ACLU effect.”
DNAinfo Chicago reports that police officers are making drastically fewer investigative stops and confiscating fewer guns as murders and shootings have increased this year.
By the way, last year, the same rise in crime was blamed on the “Ferguson effect.”