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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blamed the spike in murders and other crimes occurring in the city on the coronavirus pandemic.
The Illinois Democrat addressed the skyrocketing crimes in her city, where more than a dozen people died over the July Fourth weekend, and told CNN that COVID-19 has been a contributing factor to the increase.
Lightfoot was asked what “is happening” in Chicago by CNN correspondent Omar Jiminez during a report that aired Monday as the city saw another week where children have increasingly become the victims of gun violence.
“This is now a third week in a row where we’ve seen children shot and killed here, children as young as 10 years old, 3-years-old, 1-year-old and even this past weekend a 7-year-old shot and killed as part of a weekend where we saw more than 60 people shot and over a dozen people killed,” Jiminez said, addressing the “public safety ecosystem” that is struggling to operate at the “intersection of coronavirus and gun violence.”
Chicago experienced multiple fatal shootings across the city over the holiday weekend, with at least 17 people dead and another 72 others wounded, according to WMAQ-TV. A dozen of those victims were children and two died from the injuries, including a 7-year-old girl who was shot and killed Saturday while playing outside of her grandmother’s home.
“Part of the challenge that officials have described to me here is that they are dealing with the typical challenges of summer violence here combined with the fact of months of people being cooped up at home,” Jiminez reported Monday.
“First responders, including police, have gotten infected with COVID or even died. Hundreds of detainees at the Cook County jail at one point or another have been infected or dead. Courts have had to close and all of it piles on top of each other and complicates the situation,” he added, turning to his interview with Lightfoot.
“Compared to last year shootings up 40 percent, homicides up more than 30 percent. So just point blank, what is happening right now?” he asked the mayor.
“All of these forces are coming together at the same time and making it very difficult,” Lightfoot responded.
“The ecosystem of public safety that isn’t just law enforcement but is local, community-based, they, too, have really been hit hard by COVID and are now just kind of coming back online and getting their footing,” she added.
The Democrat addressed the death of the children in a statement over the weekend, inexplicably claiming that the city is “making progress in slowing shootings.”
As families gather to commemorate the founding of our nation, we must ask ourselves: is this who we are as a city or as a country? We cannot grow numb to this. We are making progress in slowing shootings, but we have to do better, every single one of us.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 5, 2020
Over Father’s day weekend, more than 100 people were shot and 15 people died in Chicago including a 3-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl. When asked about the spike in crimes as compared to last year, Lightfoot told WGN-9 last week that it’s “a complicated question.”
“We have way too many guns on the streets,” she added.
At least eight people were killed and more than 44 injured in New York City over the weekend as well, which Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio seemed to also want to pin on the pandemic.
“I want to talk about what happened this weekend. Many were out there celebrating, but we saw too much violence, and we have a lot of work to do to address it,” de Blasio said Monday, asserting that “there is not one cause for something like this.”
“This is directly related to coronavirus,” de Blasio, who has vowed to reduce the NYPD’s budget by $1 billion, said. “This is a very serious situation… As we’re getting into warmer and warmer weather, we’re feeling the effects of people being cooped up for months, the economy hasn’t restarted – we have a real problem here.”
President Trump addressed the New York and Chicago shootings in a tweet on Sunday, offering the federal government’s help.
“Chicago and New York City crime numbers are way up. 67 people shot in Chicago, 13 killed. Shootings up significantly in NYC where people are demanding that @NYGovCuomo & @NYCMayor act now,” he wrote. “Federal Government ready, willing and able to help, if asked!”
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