CHICAGO — Barely a month into his job as Chicago’s top cop, David Brown described his “moonshot”: a year when there would be fewer than 300 homicides in the city.
When Brown took the podium Monday for his usual news conference on weekend violence, the city had recorded more than 500 homicides this year, putting it on pace with 2016 when Chicago was hit with a spike of violence not seen in decades.
Brown, now more than four months into his tenure, did not mention the grim milestone while talking to reporters. He also did not dwell on the toll from the weekend: at least 10 people killed and 40 others wounded by gun violence that included a mass shooting at a pancake house on the Far Southwest Side. A man died and four others were wounded as diners with children scattered.
In a little more than three hours beginning around 2 a.m. Sunday, Chicago police responded to 10 separate shootings, including three homicides and an attack on two officers who exchanged gunfire with an armed teen. All three were wounded.
Brown said 51 Chicago police officers have been shot at this year and 10 of them have been hit. Asked if cops were being targeted, Brown replied, “I think there’s more than a suggestion that people are seeking to do harm to cops.”
The officers who were shot Sunday were part of the response teams that the department deployed this summer to bring violence under control. Despite the high number of shootings weekend after weekend, Brown said homicides are actually down by 50% since he sent the teams into neighborhoods the end of July. Shootings are down 15% over the last six weeks, compared with the six weeks before the teams were activated.
“That reorganization began at my four-week point,” Brown said. “I realized that we weren’t aligned with what was happening on the ground given, not only the pandemic, but the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis and the increase in violence.”
At the time of the deployment, the city was on track to be the most violent since 2016, when there were nearly 780 homicides, the most since 796 were recorded in 1996. Monday’s latest figures show that trend hasn’t changed.
The Police Department recorded 505 homicides as of the end of Sunday. That’s about the same as was logged as of this time in 2016, according to data kept by the Tribune. At least 4,330 people were shot in all of 2016. Other grim statistics from that year: deadliest month in 23 years, deadliest day in 13 years.
So far this year, 2,703 people have been shot, according to department records. That’s a big jump from last year, when there were 333 homicides at this time and 1,734 people shot, according to the department.
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