Chicago Police have arrested just one suspect in a violent crime spree that left 75 people wounded and 12 dead during the first weekend of August, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Rick Franklin, 27, is the only person arrested during a string of shootings in the city, the report stated. He was charged with one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, armed habitual felon, and aggravated discharge of a firearm.
Aside from Franklin, the department reports making progress on about five other shootings from the same weekend.
The Tribune reported that it is continuing to analyze the challenges police face in solving the crimes. The newspaper is also studying the impact that unsolved shootings could have on the crime-laden city.
What is the problem?
Following the crime spree, Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked Chicagoans to step up and reveal the shooters’ identities. City leaders say they are facing a number of challenges in solving the crimes, including a lack of victim cooperation, distrust of the police and fear of retaliation from gang warfare, the report stated.
Police department leaders told the Tribune that some people are choosing to take matters into their own hands instead of relying on the police or court system to obtain justice.
A lack of cooperation is also blamed for the dismal progress. In one of the cases from earlier this month, an alleged shooter was arrested but the victim is refusing to cooperate.
The police department’s so-called clearance rate for solving homicides was about 17 percent in 2017, and remains about as low for 2018. In 2016, just 5 percent of shootings were cleared, according to the report.
Some of the proposed remedies include “improving supervision and oversight of police, reducing caseloads for detectives, quick evidence examination and strengthening the relationship between officers and residents so that people feel comfortable talking to officers,” according to the report.
Johnson told the news outlet that officers must work harder to get the community’s trust.
“We have to continue to get out in the community, engage them and know them better,” Johnson said. “We have to just be better at building relationships with people to make them more comfortable to talk to us.”
Brendan Deenihan, deputy chief in the detective division, told the newspaper:
Other cities are a lot better than us. And we have to take ownership for our low clearance rate, and I understand that. And we will do so. However, every single study I have read, the most difficult cases to solve are outside violence with a handgun, gang involvement. And, unfortunately, in the city of Chicago that is the vast number of shootings.
What are people saying?
The problems are not new to Ronald Holt, a retired Chicago police commander, was the head of the department’s community policing program.
He told the news outlet he once begged the Chicago Housing Authority to help move the family of a woman who came forward as a witness to a crime.
“If people don’t have protection...and they think that they’re not going to be protected after they’re witnesses in the case,” Holt said, “you know, it’s like, ‘Man, we’re on our own now. So what do we do?’”
Holt’s son, 16-year-old Blair Holt, was killed in a fatal shooting on a CTA bus in 2007. His son’s killer was caught and convicted.
Police told the Tribune they are continuing to work on solving the cases from earlier this month.