While Chicago has seen 40 homicides in the month of January, the rest of the country is in many ways just waking up to the grim reality of violence in the nation’s third largest city. In yet another bloody weekend that saw seven people killed and six wounded, many are now talking about the pain felt by at least one unfortunate mother for her loss. While the gun control debate continues, one has to wonder if proposed federal legislation will have a positive impact on cities like Chicago — a city which is on the verge of recording possibly the bloodiest January ever.
This from ABC 7:
With a few days left in the month, the nation’s third-largest city now finds itself on the cusp of its deadliest January in more than a decade. The news comes just after Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy had announced that after several violent months, Chicago had seen a drop in homicides at the end of 2012 and for the first few weeks of 2013.
Police say the homicide rate is a reflection of the city’s gang problem and a proliferation of guns. Chicago has for years tried to cut off the flow of guns. It has what city officials have called the strictest handgun ordinance in the U.S. But police officials say more needs to be done and that penalties for violating gun laws should be stiffer.
Among those killed over the weekend was 34-year-old Ronnie Chambers, who was shot in the head with what police believe was an assault weapon. Such guns are banned in Chicago but can be purchased legally in the suburbs or nearby states. Chambers is the fourth child of Shirley Chambers to fall victim to gun violence.
With the weekend shootings, Chicago now has 40 homicides – the exact same number as last January. With a few days left in the year, the city could reach its deadliest January since 2002, when it had 45 homicides in the first month.
Chicago’s homicide count eclipsed 500 last year for the first time since 2008, but last week, McCarthy announced recent figures showing homicides had dropped. The city saw a 16 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a 22 percent drop in the first weeks of January.
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