As Chicago deals with a surge of murders that, thus far this year, has outpaced that of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Chicago Police Department has assigned at least 100 officers to secure the wedding of White House advisor Valerie Jarrett's daughter.
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha arrived in Chicago Friday evening ahead of the Saturday wedding of Laura Jarrett, which will be held in a backyard in the city's Kenwood neighborhood. And that wedding is, expectedly, set to be a high-security affair.
The Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed reports that between 100 and 200 Chicago police officers will be on site to help "secure the perimeter" of the wedding.
Sneed further reports that the city will not be reimbursed for the police security by the federal government.
The directive for police to cover the Jarrett wedding arrives at a time where Chicago is facing a surge in its homicide rate. The Daily pointed out in a Friday column that more Chicago residents -- 228 -- have been killed so far this year in the city than the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan - 144 -- over the same period.
The war zone-like statistics are not new. As WBEZ reports, while some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, more than 5,000 people have been killed by gun fire in Chicago during that time, based on Department of Defense and FBI data.
Chicago's murder rate is also currently quadruple that of New York and double Los Angeles' rate. Gun violence Friday evening into Saturday took the lives of at least one person -- Antonio Buck, of the 5400 block of South Aberdeen -- and wounded at least seven others, including a 16-year-old boy shot in the lower back around 11 p.m. Friday.
This weekend, with the combination of balmy weather and a number of crowd-drawing outdoor events including the Puerto Rican Festival in Humboldt Park, another surge of violence is feared.
Heading into the weekend, many Chicago police prepared to take part in a new initiative allowing them to receive overtime pay for working on their days off. A "high deployment" of officers will also be assigned to the city's downtown area to curb additional "mob-style" attacks.
The previous weekend, at least eight were killed, including a 16-year-old boy, and 46 wounded by gun violence in Chicago. Monday evening into Tuesday, seven more people were shot, two of them fatally. The city's homicide rate is up more than 50 percent over last year.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy commented at a Tuesday event that the city was dealing with a "perception problem" when it comes to its homicide and shooting rates, noting that statistics in those two areas have actually improved in recent weeks, the Chicago Tribune reports.
"I don't know how to overcome it, except to keep communicating the facts," McCarthy said. "And that's what we're going to continue to do."
The city has repeatedly said "fracturing" street gangs are responsible for the bulk of the recent gun violence. The city has deployed specialized undercover officers to units on the city's West and South Sides, as well as saturating area neighborhoods with uniformed cops.
Tio Hardiman, Illinois director of anti-violence group CeaseFire, wrote in a HuffPost blog that although much of the gun violence is simply labeled as "gang-related" in media accounts, "once you take a closer look, you will find out that the majority of conflicts stem from interpersonal conflict that escalate into a gang conflict."
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to read that some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001. A previous version of this story read that those troops were fatally shot, but many were killed in explosions.
CORRECTION #2: The title and first paragraph of this story have been updated to clarify that Chicago's homicide rate is not higher than Kabul's, rather the number of homicides in Chicago outpaced that of U.S. troops in Afghanistan as of the date of this piece's publication.