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Chicago murders key call for collective effort to curb crime

  • Written by Real Times News Service
  • Published in News

chicagoprotestThere've been more than 275 murders in the city within the last seven months. The number exceeds the number of soldiers killed in combat during the same time period.

What's it going to take for it to end? A faith-based leader and veteran police officer said it's going to take everyone to step up, step out and get involved.

On Sunday, the Honorable Min. Louis Farrakhan used Twitter (@LouisFarrakhan) as one of his outlets to speak against the violence.

"These young people are our children. We're coming in the streets to show our young people the love that they are missing," said Farrakhan. "We need to come out of the church, out of the mosque, out of the synagogue and get in the streets where the problems are...Use the wisdom that we have been given to help our people to come out of this condition."

Community activist and veteran Chicago police officer Richard Wooten urged parents to turn in their children and other family members who are breaking the law.

"As parents, we must begin to focus on the activities of our kids in our home. We must pay attention to what is coming into our homes such as drugs and guns," said Wooten.

"It now comes to a point where some parents are going to have to turn in their own family members, because if not, those family members are going to be headed towards death or jail."

Meanwhile, with the city's homicide rate up nearly 38 percent from last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy's face growing criticism that their crime-fighting initiatives are failing. Among the more recent high-profile deaths was a 7-year-old girl, Heaven Sutton, hit by a stray bullet while selling candy outside her home.

Emanuel and McCarthy used a recent news conference to assert that the gang strategies in place before McCarthy arrived were the ones that failed, not the new ones. More beat officers, they said, are now on the streets and staying in specific areas, replacing the large, specialized units that would temporarily drop into crime-ridden areas. And on Monday, Emanuel announced that he's devoting another $4 million to tear down vacant buildings where gang members live and store guns and drugs.

Chicago has averaged about 450 homicides a year since 2005, which is a dramatic drop from the roughly 900 homicides the city was experiencing annually in the early 1990s. Still, McCarthy said the current numbers are unacceptable. He pointed out that the city recorded about the same number of homicides last year as New York City, which is three times the size of Chicago.

There is evidence that police are on the right track in their fight against street gangs," McCarthy said. "This weekend, there was half the number of shootings, half the number of murders as we had the same time last year," he said, adding that the amount of shootings over the weekend marked the fewest since February.

Emanuel said there are other components of that citywide strategy, including targeting liquor stores and other businesses that police and community activists have identified as gang hangouts.

(The Chicago Defender, a Real Times Media newspaper, reported this story.)

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