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Holiday horror

61 Christmas weekend shootings continue Chicago's worst year for gun violence in decades

61 Christmas weekend shootings continue Chicago’s worst year for gun violence in decades

Over the holiday weekend 61 people were shot in Chicago and 11 people died from their wounds,  according to data complied by the Chicago Tribune.

On Christmas Day seven people died in Chicago, according to the data — more than the three previous Christmases combined. The weekend numbers are much worse than the 2015 tally of 25 shootings and seven deaths. Chicago police said most of the holiday violence was gang-related.

It’s been a particularly bloody year for Chicago. More than 4,300 have suffered gunshot wounds so far in 2016, and 770 people have died from gun violence. That’s a nearly two-decade high. Last year, by comparison, 2,989 were shot and 492 died from gun homicide.

This past holiday weekend, two teen girls — aged 13 and 14 — were shot while waiting for the 13-year-old’s father, according to the Tribune. The father is a gang member. Both girls survived their wounds, but the 14-year-old is in critical condition. A 2-year-old boy waiting with the girls was unharmed.

“These were deliberate and planned shootings by one gang against another,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the Tribune. “They were targeted knowing fully well that individuals would be at the homes of family and friends celebrating the holidays. This was followed by several acts of retaliation.”

There’s no single cause of this year’s rampant gun violence in Chicago. Some possibilities: federal prosecutions of gangs that fractured the groups into more disorganized versions of themselves; the reduction of police forces and social workers in Chicago; and the federal takeover of public housing in the city. Suspects aren’t charged for the majority of gun homicides, according to a local gun crime data compiler.

Earlier this month, the Cook County Gun Violence Task Force suggested a list of policy ideas that could help curb Chicago’s gun violence problem, including the adoption of “hotspot policing,” which would concentrate law enforcement in the most violent neighborhoods.

 

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