Fractured gangs blamed for Chicago homicide surge

June 12, 2012

DON BABWIN, Associated Press

There are many theories about what has caused a recent spike in Chicago's homicide rate, including a splintering of established gangs, the warm winter and high unemployment in neighborhoods that seem a world away from the city's beaches, lush parks and skyscrapers.

The numbers are startling, with eight killed and at least 35 wounded last weekend.

The violence is nowhere near its historical peak of the early 1990s, when Chicago recorded roughly 900 homicides per year. But from Jan. 1 through late May there were 203 homicides — an increase of more than 50 percent over the 134 during the same period in 2011.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made combatting gangs a priority and has stood with Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to unveil a plan of attack.