The recent surge in violence in Chicago lasted through the weekend, leaving at least nine people dead and 28 wounded after multiple shootings, NBC News reports.
The Chicago Tribune reported that at least 17 of those victims were shot in a 12-hour stretch between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
The attacks came on the heels of 19 more shootings, all of them non-fatal, between Thursday night and Friday morning in the city’s south and west sides, traditionally gang strongholds.
Local police superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a press conference Saturday that news reports keeping count of the recent attacks were exaggerating the issue of violence in the city.
“Over the first 3 months of the year, we had a 66 percent increase and a 40 percent increase in murders in shootings,” McCarthy told WBBM-TV and other media outlets. “Since that time, we’ve knocked those numbers way down to about 30 percent in the murder rate, and about 7 or 8 percent increase in the shooting rate. That’s not what’s being reported. What’s being reported is the whole number of shootings and murders every single day.”
A study earlier this year reported that the city had seen a the homicide rate increase 38 percent between June 2011 and June 2012. According to The Tribune, a review of more than 1,100 cases concluded that almost 80 percent of investigations into non-fatal shootings had to be suspended because witnesses refused to cooperate with police.
McCarthy also talked up a recent undercover sweep of open-air drug buys that resulted in 300 people being arrested and 100 guns being seized.
“Ninety-nine percent of these folks are gang members,” McCarthy said. “So this has a direct impact on exactly what we’re doing to try and prevent gang violence.”
WBBM’s report on the gun seizure program and the weekend shootings, aired Sunday, can be seen below.