Chicago, IL – Chicago police made 84 gun arrests and took 199 guns off the streets during the most violent weekend so far of 2019, but Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said only 15 offenders remained incarcerated as of Monday morning.
Fifty-two people were shot and 10 people were killed in Chicago over the 4th of July holiday weekend, CBS News reported.
Superintendent Johnson told reporters at a press conference on Monday that the numbers showed “the challenges we face are complex and profound.”
“I know I can speak for everyone at CPD when I say we take these shootings seriously, and there’s a heightened sense of urgency and care when it comes to gun violence in this city,” the superintendent said.
The 10 people killed, including two who were stabbed to death, make the 4th of July holiday weekend twice as deadly as Memorial Day weekend, when five people were killed, CBS News reported.
Superintendent Johnson said Chicago police officers took 199 guns off the streets of the city between July 3 and July 7.
He said 84 people were arrested on gun-related charges.
“That’s a ridiculous amount of guns and each one of these interactions – I want you to be mindful – that they potentially neutralized a possible act of violence,” the superintendent said.
He said that the gun arrests that were made over the weekend prevented “several acts of retaliation.”
“[199 guns] equates to nearly two illegal guns per hour that were taken off the streets by CPD,” Superintendent Johnson said.
“[Officers] often know the offenders that pull the triggers,” Superintendent Johnson told reporters. “They know them because they know their beats, they know their neighborhoods. People living in these communities have pointed out these troublemakers in the past and CPD has had a watchful eye on nearly all those offenders that contributed to this violent weekend.”
But despite police making 84 arrests – 42 for felonies – on gun charges during the weekend, he said only 15 offenders remained in custody as of Monday morning.
“Our lax culture on gun offenders also sent a message to our community partners who had the courage to dial 911 or speak to their officers that they see about someone they suspected might be carrying a weapon,” Superintendent Johnson said.
He said their bravery turns to “shock and anger” when they see the same people they turned in walking free on the streets just hours later.
“Until we get serious on how we prioritize gun offenders and violence in our communities, we’ll continue to be at risk,” Superintendent Johnson told reporters. “Our relationship with the community is damaged when we cannot keep an individual incarcerated after being caught with an illegal weapon in the city of Chicago.”
The superintendent, who grew up in Chicago, said he understood the challenges faced in a city rife with gangs and gun violence, and that he was leery of packing the jails with low-level offenders.
“However, individuals with a felony weapons charge must and should be held accountable and face responsibility for what they do,” Superintendent Johnson insisted. “We know that these offenders are likely to continue the behavior that landed them in handcuffs in the first place. And we know this because we keep arresting them over and over again. Now that’s not a risk – as a city or society – that we should be willing to take.”
He said that offenders who go out with a gun planning to commit a crime need to know they will be held accountable if they’re caught.
“We have to get serious as a society about this gun issue. We just do,” Superintendent Johnson told reporters.
He said people are afraid to come forward because they don’t trust there will be accountability.
Superintendent Johnson praised the U.S. Attorney’s Office and said that police work with them to try to take as many cases federal as possible because there’s more accountability.