Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made his first public comments Friday after a violent weekend claimed the lives of at least 10 and injured dozens more, including a Chicago police officer who was nearly killed, in recent days.
"What happened is unacceptable. Our streets are for our children and for our law-abiding parents," Emanuel said during a news conference announcing expanded Chicago Public Schools college prep programs at Curie High School, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He had been out of town when the violence occurred.
"I cannot think of anything worse than if a family is hanging out on their front porch [enjoying] nice spring-like weather that that is violated by violence. Our streets do not belong to gang bangers," the mayor, who had been on vacation in Utah with his children since last week, continued.
On Wednesday, the city reached the 100-homicide mark for 2012, RedEye reported. Chicago has not reached 100 homicides in March since 2004. Between March 14 and March 21 alone, 17 homicides were reported citywide.
Emanuel went on to say Friday that the surge of street violence in Chicago "tears at the city's fabric," according to the Chicago Tribune. He urged that, while the Chicago Public Department is working on a new, comprehensive anti-gang strategy akin to a crackdown targeted at the Maniac Latin Disciples last summer, crime is not solely a law enforcement concern. The community, too, plays a crucial role.
On Monday, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy addressed the recent slayings and said he was "accountable for this and I'm not going to blame the weather is what this boils down to."
McCarthy went on to diagnose Chicago's gang problem as unique and widespread, rivaling Los Angeles' well-known problem with impenetrable gang blocs. One major weakness of the police force to date, McCarthy admitted, is anticipating the retaliatory attacks that can often set off a chain reaction of violence.