Chicago’s Democratic mayor, Lori Lightfoot, blamed guns and the coronavirus pandemic for the city’s stark increase in violence in recent weeks, which has taken the lives of hundreds, including those of several children.
According to WMAQ-TV, in the month of June alone, there were 424 shootings and 89 murders in Chicago, with both figures up by 75% or more compared to the same month last year.
The above figures don’t even include May 31 — the city’s deadliest day in 60 years — on which 18 people were killed in just 24 hours amid the George Floyd protests. Nor does it include the continued violence that occurred over Fourth of July weekend, in which 36 people were shot and at least 13 people were killed, including a 14-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl.
Yet despite the rise in violence during the month of June, arrests were down by more than half, WMAQ-TV reported.
When asked about what is happening in the city, Lightfoot quickly suggested one of the major causes is a glut of guns.
“That’s a complicated question,” the mayor said, according to the Washington Examiner. “We have way too many guns on the streets.”
Lightfoot also blamed coronavirus lockdowns, which kept people cooped up inside for months, as a contributing factor in creating the “perfect storm” for violence to ensue.
Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara strongly disagreed with the mayor and instead suggested that the rise in violence along with the decline in arrests is due to officers feeling handcuffed and fearing for their jobs.
“When the top official in this city is blaming the police for everything that’s wrong, to hide their inefficiencies and inadequacies, it definitely makes people stop and wonder, ‘What am i doing? Am I going home? Am I going to have a job tomorrow? Am I going to be in jail next week?'” Catanzara said.
Lightfoot responded by suggesting the police union is exaggerating the situation amid contract negotiations with the city in which pay and stricter discipline rules for officers are on the table.
“You’re going to hear a lot of noise from the FOP. That’s part of the game. But I’m focused on making sure that we get wins at the bargaining table for the residents of this city,” Lightfoot said.