Mayor Rahm Emanuel went on the defensive Thursday about a surge of recent homicides in Chicago and questioned why new law enforcement tactics hadn't been created before he was elected 10 months ago.
"You can say, 'Are you doing it right,'" Emanuel said, "but the question is, 'Why were those policies not done before?'"
Between the start of 2012 and April 1, Chicago Police recorded 120 homicides, a 60 percent spike over the 75 murders during the same period in 2010 and 2011.
In response Emanuel told reporters he has toughened curfew policy, dumped more resources into after-school programs and changed the way police deals with liquor stores, "a cancer in communities."
"Prior to the 1,000 officers I put on the street, 600 of them were doing clerical work, not doing policing in our communities," Emanuel said during a press conference with Gov. Pat Quinn to announce a massive project to clean up the Chicago River. "That's a change."
The mayor pointed out overall crime is down 10 percent, and he called the thought of Chicagoans getting used to a higher level of violence "unacceptable."
Early Thursday, a mother and her infant daughter were struck in bed by bullets that pierced the side of their family's West Pullman home. The baby was shot in the back of the head.
Late Wednesday night, a woman was shot in the face while driving. On Monday, a woman was shot in a car while sitting at a traffic light.
Emanuel told reporters he didn't want to dwell on statistics. Instead he said a culture change needs to occur.
"Nobody can be comfortable or sanguine about it and nobody should. If you're a resident of the city, and a child is shot in Little Village, that's a child in the city of Chicago. It's not in another part of the city."
Emanuel again stressed Chicago has problems with gangs and said the police are implementing ways to combat that.
"We are putting in place a set of policies and enforcement strategies to deal with the gang bangers so the people in this city know that those streets do not belong to gang bangers, they belong to the kids and the law-abiding citizens of our city."