Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot cited the coronavirus pandemic as a contributing factor to a recent spike in shootings in her city.
When asked by CNN’s Omar Jimenez why shootings were up 40 percent over last year and homicides up more than 30 percent, Lighfoot said: “All of these forces are coming together at the same time and making it very difficult. 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.”
Shootings killed 18 people in Chicago in the last weekend in June, including two children and a teenager. Over the July Fourth weekend, more than 67 people were shot and at least 13 killed, including a 7-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy.
Lightfoot’s remarks echoed those of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who blamed an uptick in violence over the weekend on the coronavirus pandemic while defending the city’s police reforms and vowing to keep New York City “the safest big city in America.”
Shootings over the holiday weekend left at least eight dead and more than 44 people injured in the country’s largest city.
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“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, adding that “there is not one cause for something like this.”
“This is directly related to coronavirus,” de Blasio 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.”
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De Blasio vowed to “double down” to address the violence, which included shootings in Brooklyn, the Bronx and upper Manhattan. He noted that it was going to take “neighborhood policing” and cooperation from clergy and elected officials.
“This is all hands on deck,” de Blasio said, adding that the city has “been dealt a really tough hand.”
“People are cooped up … they don’t have the normal things to engage their lives,” he explained. “But we’re going to overcome it. It’s going to be tough and take hard work.”
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President Trump reacted to shootings in the two cities in a tweet Sunday evening.
“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. Federal Government ready, willing and able to help, if asked!”