Chicago’s police department unveiled a new “gun investigations” team following a spike in crime following yet another weekend of violence that saw at least 50 people shot and 11 killed.
So far, Chicago has seen more than 2,000 shooting victims this year, according to the Chicago Tribune — 164 more victims than there were at the same point in 2020. The Tribune’s tracking project also reports that there have been more than 300 homicides this year, 5 more than in 2020, which was one of the most violent years in Chicago’s recent history.
Chicago police, like the Biden administration, now says it will focus on illegal guns, with a new 50-officer team targeting “straw purchasers” — those who purchase weapons from unlicensed, unregulated retailers or from other individuals.
“In an effort to combat crime, Supt. Brown announced Monday the launch of the gun investigations team. It will be comprised of 50 officers who will be targeting straw purchasers trafficking illegal guns throughout the area,” Chicago’s WGN News reported. “A $1 million fund will support the team to encourage more tips to police.”
“Someone knows whose being paid as a third party to purchase guns for a violent person in this city that would do a drive-by shooting on young people celebrating a graduation,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown explained during a press conference.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and President Joe Biden have both blamed the illegal sale and trafficking of guns for Chicago’s crime problem, even though those issues predate the spike in violence that began last summer, following the release of strict COVID-19 lockdowns in the city and the death of George Floyd, which set off a national “defund the police” movement that has had an impact on law enforcement.
Lightfoot demanded, last month, that Biden send reinforcements into the city of Chicago to help control the spike in violence, and specifically said she wanted assistance in controlling “the flow of illegal guns into our city.”
“We’ve got to redouble our efforts to call upon the federal government to help us stop the flow of illegal guns into our city,” Lightfoot said. “A lot of this played out on social media that then becomes a shooting – a beef from one person to another, one group to another. It’s a completely different dynamic if there’s no guns.”
“We are a city that is awash in illegal guns,” she said per WGN. “Those illegal guns cause deep pain and injury and death.”
Chicago’s police administrators have, at times, blamed the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office for the spike in crime, claiming that prosecutors’ “bail reform” initiatives have allowed violent criminals to roam free while they await trial. CWB Chicago says that at least 28 individuals are “accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for another felony.”
Last weekend, more than 50 people were shot and at least 11 people were killed in the ongoing violence.
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