Chicago residents are so concerned about the city’s rising homicide rate, they are personally begging the Chicago police superintendent for help.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson addressed the public in a news conference, and said residents are becoming increasingly frustrated with the violence in their city, reports DNA Info.
“Every week, I go into these communities, people ask me or beg me, ‘Superintendent, do something about this violence,’” Johnson said. “Everywhere I go, people ask how can we reduce the violence in Chicago.”
Chicago’s homicide count for 2016 skyrocketed to 700 in November, the first time in almost 20 years the city has been rocked with so much violence.
The city started the year with 51 homicides and 272 gunshot victims in January alone. The number of homicides also doubled over two years — January 2014 had 20 homicides and January 2015 had 29 murders.
Johnson attributed the rise in violence to numerous issues, such as gang culture, social and economic issues and anti-police rhetoric.
“Economic and social services needed to address some of these issues, if people can’t see a better life, they can’t pursue a better life. We can point to a gang culture that starts for some kids. It’s the only life they know. By the time they are 12, their destiny is set and it’s highly likely that it’s either prison or death,” Johnson explained.
Johnson proposed tougher sentences for those who commit gun violence, an issue that is also on the rise in 2016. Too many times, he said, offenders have shot people and been slapped with weak penalties. Because they don’t face severe consequences, they are more likely to grab a gun and commit the same crimes over again, Johnson said.
“They get out and pick up a gun again. This isn’t OK. This is more than just action on a piece of paper. This is life and death. Families are paying a price for every day we don’t act,” he said.