Despite a surge of officers placed in strategic spots throughout the city, efforts to keep Independence Day weekend violence down weren't as successful as hoped, Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy told reporters on Monday.
"From about 6 o'clock Thursday evening through midnight last night, we had basically the same level of shootings that we did last year, which is unacceptable because this year we put a ton of effort into preventing it," the frustrated superintendent said at his weekly press briefing to show off the illegal firearms taken off the streets in the previous days.
A Chicago Police Department spokesperson said 67 people were wounded and 11 killed throughout the weekend. The Chicago Tribune put the tally at 82 wounded, with 30 of the shootings being recorded in a 13-hour span on Sunday.
McCarthy said overtime was saved up so enough officers could be at the ready to reduce the violence the city saw on the same weekend a year ago. The strategy seemed to work Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but shooting incidents spiked on Sunday; 21 incidents in all, he said.
"I need to know what happened on Sunday. Because Thursday, Friday, Saturday -- while it was busy, it was very, very busy -- we still made advances. It was yesterday that we lost it," he said. "I asked the question this morning and we're square rooting it nine ways from Sunday, what is it that happened yesterday?"
Still, Chicago's top cop maintains the department's overall crime strategy is working. He reiterated statistics indicating that this year is on track to have one of the lowest crime rates in decades. Through Sunday, he said 11 fewer homicides have been recorded compared to the same time last year -- 185 compared to 196 in 2013. Shooting incidents, however, are up by 46, he said.
There were eight incidents over the weekend when Chicago officers fired their weapons or were fired upon.
"It all comes down to these guns. There's too many guns coming in, and too little punishment going out," he said. "I'm waiting for the assistance. People have to go to jail for gun possession, and something has to happen to slow down the straw purchasing that puts these guns in our streets. ... The criminal justice system in the State of Illinois is not devised to reduce gun violence."
McCarthy said his officers have taken nearly 3,400 illegal weapons off the streets since the beginning of the year. Nearly 100 of those guns were recovered throughout the four-day holiday weekend.
In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the shootings "unacceptable."
"The solution does not just include policing – although we’ll continue to look for ways to put more police where they’re needed. We also have to give our young people alternatives to the street, and as a community we need to demand more of ourselves and our neighbors," he said.