CHICAGO, IL—The city of Chicago reported over 40 shootings throughout the Christmas holiday weekend. The Chicago Police Department said in a statement on Monday, December 26, that the majority of the shootings were gang related.
“Ninety percent of those fatally wounded had gang affiliations, criminal histories and were pre-identified by the department’s strategic subject algorithm as being a potential suspect or victim of gun violence,” the CPD said.
according to reports, out of 40 shootings, 12 people died from injuries sustained.
The Chicago Police Department confiscated 45 guns over the weekend from the area; a number that is slightly higher than the city’s average.
Chicago has recently recorded its most violent month in over 20 years. In August, 92 murders were reported in the area; the city’s deadliest month since June 1993. In 2016, over 100 murders, more than New York and Los Angeles combined were reported in Chicago, according to the Chicago Police Department data.
Gary Slutkin, of the Chicago-based non-profit group Cure Violence said the gun violence epidemic is a public health crisis. Slutkin also said part of the problem is that his nationally recognized organization experienced a drastic reduction in state funding two years ago when Illinois made major statewide cuts.
A major factor in Cure Violence’s effectiveness is the employment of people who have experience with gun violence in order to detect those who might be on the verge of falling into that life. The group mentors them to try to pull them back from the lifestyle notes Slutkin, who is also a professor of epidemiology and global health at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health.
“A lot of individuals and organizations are calling us, and we’re trying to figure out now how to re-engage in 2017 as fast as we can,” Slutkin told USA TODAY. “The state gave some temporary money that’s lasting about a month. They won’t have another budget until the summer.”
At one point in 2000, the organization operated out of 18 districts. That figure dropped to 14 when Illinois ran out of funds. The organization currently operates in one district.
According to the CPD police data, in 2015 and in 2016, the one community that maintained a Cure Violence operation was the only Chicago district where shootings and killings declined. The neighborhood that previously had the largest Cure Violence operation, along with the largest violence decrease, saw the largest increase in shootings, according to the police statistics.
“Detectives are making progress in several incidents. So far, multiple people of interest are being questioned, and we are following up on some promising leads. The violence primarily occurred in areas with historical gang conflicts on the South and West Side of Chicago,” indicated the CPD in a statement.