Following the release of figures that show more than 700 people have been killed in Chicago in 2016, the city’s police superintendent issued a statement.
On Friday, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson addressed the public’s concerns at a news conference, saying that residents are becoming more frustrated with violence that’s plaguing the Windy City.
“Every week, I go into these communities, people ask me or beg me, ‘Superintendent, do something about this violence,'” Johnson said, reported local website DNAInfo. “Everywhere I go, people ask how can we reduce the violence in Chicago.”
According to figures released by police, 77 people were shot and killed in Chicago in November of this year. Another 389 people were shot. The Chicago Sun-Times noted that the month’s murder total is the highest in November since 1994, when 78 people were killed.
Johnson said the rise in violence is the result of several issues, such as gang culture and anti-police sentiments.
“Economic and social services needed to address some of these issues, if people can’t see a better life, they can’t pursue a better life. We can point to a gang culture that starts for some kids. It’s the only life they know. By the time they are 12, their destiny is set and it’s highly likely that it’s either prison or death,” Johnson said.
As CBS Chicago reported, Johnson is planning to push for stricter punishments for criminals.
“I’ve been working with lawmakers since July. Gun offenders get slaps on the wrist in this city, and it has to stop,” Johnson said Friday. “I need our judicial partners and our state legislators to close this gap.”
As of Dec. 4, at least 728 people have been shot and killed in 2016, according to the Chicago Tribune’s numbers. In all of 2015, 492 people were killed.