Chicago violence: CPD supt. discusses Fourth of July strategy as June crime numbers released

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Friday, July 2, 2021
CPD superintendent lays out July 4 safety plan as city council pressure mounts
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown spoke about his plan to try to prevent gun violence this July 4 holiday weekend.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown laid out his July 4 holiday weekend plan Thursday, as pressure from the Chicago City Council continues to mount.

Chicago police released its June crime numbers Thursday morning, showing 499 people were shot last month, and 78 were killed. In total so far in 2021, there have been nearly 1,900 shooting victims, a 13% increase over the first six months of 2020.

The Chicago City Council has also called for a special meeting Friday to get answers about police strategy.

Brown said Thursday afternoon he will be at the meeting, but he primarily spoke about his summer safety plan, which really offered nothing new and instead mirrored what he's been saying for several months. And he would not make any predictions about how successful his 4th of July safety plan will be.

"What I can say will happen is that the Chicago Police Department will give its all," Brown said.

CPD will provide targeted protection for commercial districts across the city. Officers will have days off canceled and, beginning Friday at 6 a.m., start working 12 hour shifts. The plan will focus on 15 violence-prone areas of the city.

"So it's really data driven," said Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott. "We want our activity in the same locations where the crimes are occurring."

Meanwhile, aldermen are at odds over the value of having Brown testify.

"Tomorrow we will get our answers directly from Superintendent Brown, about what he's going to do to keep Chicago safe, not only this weekend but for the rest of summer," said 15th Ward Alderman Ray Lopez.

Lopez led the charge to get Brown to appear before the city council, threatening a vote of no confidence if he did not appear to testify.

"We want to hear additional plans, so if he had to repeat them, repeat them," 6th Ward Alderman Rod Sawyer said. "If you have to put them in crayon, put them in crayon, but give us the plan; make us feel safe."

Several of Mayor Lori Lightfoot's allies criticized the move.

"I want to confront the shenanigans that we're seeing here," said 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas, 12th Ward.

"Some of my colleagues are out not just to embarrass the Superintendent but the Mayor also," said 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney.

Brown himself avoided the political drama, paraphrasing a Tennyson poem instead.

"Ours is not to question why, but to do or die. Next question," he said.

"We're not going to let people who just think that the city council is political theater get in the way of doing the work on behalf of our residents. Shame on them," said Mayor Lightfoot, who accused Alderman Ed Burke of orchestrating the chaos behind the scene. She twice referred to him as Burger King Ed, a reference to the fast food restaurant he has been charged with shaking down.

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The CPD crime numbers also showed "a double digit decrease in murders compared to June 2020, marking the third month in a row with a decline."

For June 2021, Chicago experienced 78 murders, down 20% compared to the 98 murders in June 2020, according to CPD. Year-to-date, there have been six fewer murders in 2021 compared to last year. The number of shooting incidents dropped 13% over June 2020, as well as 41 fewer shooting victims. June 2021 also saw 20-year lows citywide in burglaries and robberies. The decline of vehicular hijackings continued, with a 42% decrease since January, Chicago police said.

Those numbers do not count killings on expressways that are investigated by the Illinois State Police. The department's numbers also do not include police-involved homicides.

But halfway through the year, more people have been shot and more people have been killed in Chicago than this time last year, when violence reached levels not seen since the mid-1990s.

Chicago has seen at least 336 homicides for the first six months of the year, just two more than at this point in 2020 but 33% more than 2019's 252 homicides, according to an analysis by the Sun-Times.

The city has recorded at least 1,892 shootings through June 28, the most recently available statistics, an increase of almost 12% compared to 2020's 1,692 and a 53% increase over 2019's 1,234 shootings during the same time.

Last year was one of the deadliest in the city in decades, with 775 killed, a sharp spike from the 500 homicides in 2019.

In the first six months of the year, 31 Chicago police officers have been shot at, with six of those officers struck by gunfire, CPD said.

Sun-Times Media contributed to this report.