With a few days left in the month, Chicago finds itself on the cusp of its deadliest January in more than a decade.
Police say the homicide rate is a reflection of the city's gang problem and a proliferation of guns, said AP. For years the city has tried to cut off the flow of guns, and even has what city officials have called the strictest handgun ordinance in the U.S. But police officials say more needs to be done and that penalties for violating gun laws should be stiffer.
With the weekend shootings, Chicago now has 40 homicides — the exact same number as last January, said AP. With a few days left in the year, the city could reach its deadliest January since 2002, when it had 45 homicides in the first month, it said.
Chicago's homicide count eclipsed 500 last year for the first time since 2008, but last week, McCarthy announced recent figures showing homicides had dropped. The city saw a 16 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a 22 percent drop in the first weeks of January.
Chicago leads the nation in guns seized by police, and recently police have started displaying the guns each week to offer a visual reminder. First Deputy Superintendent Al Wysinger said that last year's total of 7,400 is nine times as high as the number seized in the nation's largest city, New York, and three times as high as in its second-largest, Los Angeles. So far this year, Chicago officers have taken 574 firearms.