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article imageChicago: Rise in homicides on Rahm Emanuel's watch

By Larry Clifton     Sep 3, 2012 in Crime
Chicago - Perhaps a shocking rise in gun violence is the most notable statistic of Rahm Emanuel’s brief reign as Chicago’s mayor.
The homicide rate in Chicago jumped 29 percent higher in August compared to the same time last year.
This weekend in Chicago a shootout took place in a South Side neighborhood not known for gang wars and multiple shootings. Sunday night, an 11-year-old girl was among four victims hit in a hail of gunfire during a “Pill Hill” neighborhood party near where a man in a separate incident was found shot dead in a school parking lot.
Prior to this bloody weekend, Chicago police reports the small neighborhood has one of the lowest crime rates on the South Side, only two homicides dating back to 2008, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Each weekend in Chicago, drive-by shooters spray neighborhoods with hot lead, killing and maiming more Americans than the Taliban in Afghanistan.
"I'm just so alarmed about it because we don't have that kind of stuff going on around here…," said Michelle McNeal, 54, of Chappel Avenue, the scene of both shootings. McNeal has lived there for more than 40 years.
"It's a quiet neighborhood and everybody has been knowing each other a long time."
McNeal told police she heard about 10 shots Sunday night, but didn't see what happened at a party on the 9100 block of Chappel the pops from pistols split the night air. About 10:45 p.m. Sunday, four people were shot, including a 16-year-old boy wounded in the back, an 18-year-old man struck in the right elbow, a 51-year-old woman hit in the buttocks, and an 11-year-old girl whose left calf was grazed by a bullet.
According to the Tribune, a football and small soccer ball sat in the yard of the brick home where the shootings took place and faded pink and yellow chalk drawings adorned the sidewalk. A man, elbow wrapped in bandages, was seen on the front porch, but he and a woman there would not comment on the shooting incident other than to say the family is "fine."
The second shooting, this one fatal, took place early Sunday morning a block from the parking lot of Warren Elementary School. Jeffrey Smith, 38, of the 25000 block of Taft Street in south suburban Monee, was shot dead in his car around 3 a.m. Police found crack cocaine in the car, according to the Tribune.
In another shooting, a 45-year-old mother and neighborhood beauty shop owner was killed early Sunday, apparently in her apartment building in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.
Chicago surpassed 50 homicides for the month and 350 homicides for the year, according to a RedEye analysis of preliminary police data, as of August 27. The figure represents about a 29 percent increase over 2011 homicide rates.
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