Police investigate a homicide scene after a 24-year-old man was found dead with a gunshot to his back along a sidewalk in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago on Dec. 15, 2013.
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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 murdersĀ 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 EddieĀ Johnson had this to say about the news: ā€œIn the coming weeks and months, I plan on meeting with and listening to a range of Chicagoansā€”from activists and elected officials to ministers and parentsā€”to find ways that we can come together to build mutual trust and lasting partnerships that will make our streets safer for everyone.ā€

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.Ā 

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 ā€œstop and friskā€).


USA Today reports the Police DepartmentĀ entered an agreementĀ with theĀ 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 forĀ disproportionately targeting minorities for questioning and searches.

Several CPD officers and sergeants told the ChicagoĀ Sun-TimesĀ that theyā€™ve avoided aggressive policing since theĀ agreement went into effect, with some calling the uptick in crime the ā€œACLU effect.ā€

DNAinfo ChicagoĀ reportsĀ that police officers are making drasticallyĀ 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 ā€œFerguson effect.ā€