Cops Outgunned By Gangs? Can’t Tell From CPD Firearm Seizures
Cook County prosecutors on Monday said what wounded two Chicago cops in the Back of the Yards neighborhood last week was an assault-rifle attack.
The police department said assault rifles were also used in two gang shootings that killed a total of three people and injured eight others on Sunday in Brighton Park.
Some aldermen, meanwhile, are pushing to get more cops trained to use semi-automatic “long guns” because, they say, gangs are increasingly armed with assault weapons.
But a police dataset raises questions about the extent of the problem.
The department’s recovered-firearm inventory shows that the number of seizures of assault rifles and weapons has not changed much over the last decade. Last year’s total was 215, five fewer than in 2007.
Going back a bit further, the numbers were much bigger. In 2005, police seized 332 assault rifles and weapons, according to the data, obtained by WBEZ using the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Still, a statement from police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he was “appreciative” of the proposal from the aldermen.
“We strongly embrace initiatives that ensure our officers have the necessary equipment and training to safeguard each other as they work to keep our neighborhoods safer,” Johnson said.
Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio. Follow him on Twitter at @ChipMitchell1.