CHICAGO — Police Supt. Eddie Johnson had a message for neighbors following a bloody weekend in Chicago — the police department can’t fight the city’s gun violence problem alone.
Johnson said the devastating weekend of gun violence — at least 12 people were killed and 59 wounded over the weekend — “rips at everything I believe in.” He denied that police department response times and staffing levels were affected because cops were covering the crowded music fest Lollapalooza in Grant Park Downtown.
“I know as a city and neighborhoods across the city we can do better, CPD can do better,” Johnson said. “Someone knows who did it. I hear people hold us accountable but I never hear of people holding others accountable.”
Three people were shot Friday evening, 13 were shot Saturday, 48 were shot Sunday and six were shot early Monday, according to the Sun-Times. About 30 people were shot during a three-hour span between midnight and 3 a.m. Sunday, the Sun-Times reports, and a single shooting in Auburn Gresham wounded eight people, including four teenage girls.
Immediately after the shootings, Johnson said he ordered additional officers to the affected areas to prevent retaliatory shootings. He said 46 people were arrested for gun charges over the weekend and police seized 60 guns.
Johnson called on lawmakers to impose tougher penalties on repeat gun offenders.
“As long as we fail to hold repeat gun offenders accountable for their actions we are going to keep having this conversations on Monday mornings,” he said. “The Chicago Police Department cannot do this alone.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel reiterated that someone in the neighborhoods know who is responsible for the violence.
“As the superintendent just said you know who did this so if you say ‘enough is enough’ we must come forward as a neighborhood where a moral center of gravity holds,” he said.
Ald. David Moore (17th) said aldermen need to push the mayor to increase “purposeful and international” development in areas plagued by violence if anything is going to change.
“There’s a short-term and longterm solution and right now there are kids out there that are 10 years old right now,” Moore said. “If they don’t see a better neighborhood for themselves by 15 they’re going to continue to do what these guys at 15 years old are doing.”
“Is that going to change it overnight? No, but that 10-year-old, by 15, he is going to see a better community,” Moore said.
In the short-term, Moore said leaders have to make sure “our residents know they can’t have it two ways.”
They can’t have people standing out on corners and then when we come asking them to move [they say] ‘we just standing here.’ That’s the short term. If they are just loitering they have to move or they have to be arrested because when they are loitering we know that we are dealing with a systematic thing of people coming and shooting in order to hit a gang person that’s in that crowd,” Moore said.
Moore said that the communities affected by violence are organizing against it.
“They’re establishing block clubs, they are communicating, they are having more accountability,” he said. “For the most part they are standing up and saying something.”
Despite the violent weekend, Johnson said that the city has seen a 20 percent reduction in murders this year and a roughly 17 percent reduction in the number of shootings.