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Despite his promise to make Chicago’s streets safer, critics say Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget cuts have made Chicago one of the nation’s most dangerous cities as a wave of gang violence sweeps through the Windy City.Homicides in Chicago have jumped by 38 per cent, increasing from 66 in the first half of 2011 to 240 for the same time period in 2012, according to The New York Times.
Critics point to Emanuel’s consolidation of three police departments and cuts to police spending by $67 million — mostly by removing 1,300 department jobs — as a leading cause of the violence, The New York Times reported.
While violence in Chicago’s poorer neighborhoods has always been well known, the city’s wealthier residents are starting to live in fear as well, with shootings reported along the city’s famed Magnificent Mile and near the Lincoln Park Zoo.
A case of what police dubbed gang-related road rage Friday left one man seriously injured. A man was shot after he attacked a grey SUV with a pipe, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The weekend of June 15 was particularly deadly for Chicagoans. Five people were fatally shot and 34 were also shot but survived, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.
By while homicides are picking up at an alarming rate, other crimes, such as rapes and auto thefts, have improved by about 10 per cent since last year.
The ballooning homicide rate has become one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s top concerns. He begins his day at 5:30 a.m. by readying an email from the Chicago Police Department detailing the previous night’s crimes.
And by 7 a.m. he’s on the phone with police superintendent Garry McCarthy, according to The New York Times.
The recent crime wave must be distressing for the Emanuel administration, especially since homicides have dropped in New York and Los Angeles — a fact New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been quick to advertise.
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