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The city of Chicago is facing a huge killing epidemic, one which Mayor Rom Emanuel will have to  make a top priority. Homicides in the country’s third-largest city have increased 38 percent, in the last year.

A whopping 240 people have lost their lives in the city as of June 17, many of which have been shootings.  “That’s somebody’s husband, somebody’s son, and they’re dying right on our block,” resident Maya Hodari, of Chicago’s South Side, told the New York Times.  “It hurts.”

Although homicides are up in numbers, there has yet to be a trickle-down effect in other crimes, as incidents of rapes, burglaries, and auto thefts have all gone down.  “We’ve got a gang issue, specific to parts of the city, and we have a responsibility to bring a quality of life to those residents, and we are going to do it,” Emanuel said. “My bigger issue is not only the homicides and shootings, it’s what it does to all the legitimate citizens in that community and the kids.”

Emanuel’s opposers blame the figures on budget cuts. In an attempt to bring down spending by $67 million, the mayor has combined police and fire departments, and made cuts in three police districts. “Every district in the city is running short on manpower,” noted Pat Camden, a Fraternal Order of Police spokesman. “It’s penny-wise and dollar foolish.”

Even with the lack of police on the streets, residents still face a battle against authorities who have used their status to kill innocent people. In March, Det. Dante Servin, shot and killed 22-year-old Rekia Boyd—who was unarmed—after alleging that he saw a weapon, which turned out to be a cell phone.

Elsewhere in the city, a Black Chicago cop is facing a 40-year sentence for retaliating against white officers, after they shot him 28 times.


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Photo: Chicago Tribune