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7-Year-Old Girl Latest Statistic In Chicago's Skyrocketing Murder Tally

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 29, 2012 6:20PM

Heaven Sutton (ABC)
Seven-year-old Heaven Sutton was one of the latest additions to Chicago's skyrocketing murder rate Wednesday. Heaven was shot in the back after she finished selling candy on the front lawn of her home on the city's West side. Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said his investigators have "incredibly strong leads." Investigators blame Heaven's death on an ongoing feud between two street gangs, the 4 Corner Hustlers and the Maniac Insane Vice Lords.

Heaven Sutton's murder comes as the increase in Chicago's murder rate made the pages of the New York Times earlier this week. Overall violent crime is up in Chicago this year. The murder rate, in particular, has skyrocketed 38 percent, with 253 recorded murders in Chicago. The numbers are more startling as murder rates in other major cities have held steady or decreased in 2012 to date. (The chart we've included with this post lists 218 through June 21.) This has become an embarrassing issue for McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who campaigned for last year on a promise to rid the streets of crime.

McCarthy has made the media rounds in recent weeks saying there's a "perception issue" between the crime rate and recent efforts by his department to address the spike in violence. McCarthy has repeatedly stressed the murder rate won't go down overnight.

“The shooting numbers are coming down. That leaves little solace to anyone who has to deal with violence like this, so don’t get me wrong on that. ...The fact is it’s going to take a long time before anybody ever declares victory in this war — and that’s exactly what it is.”

Heaven's mother, Ashake Banks, said Emanuel called her twice for consolation and to vow the killer would be arrested. To help combat the gang activity that's cited as the major reason for the increase in the murder rate, the Chicago Police Department on Monday announced a partnership with CeaseFire, the anti-violence movement featured in the acclaimed documentary The Interrupters, on a $1 million pilot program that would put CeaseFire workers on the streets on the South and West sides. In return, those workers are subject to weekly evaluations from the police department based on the CompStat system McCarthy brought to Chicago from New York City and Newark, NJ. The relationship between the Police Department and CeaseFire is guarded at best, but CeaseFire's successes and, more important, Emanuel being impressed by those successes, will make for an uneasy marriage of convenience.

2012 Chicago Murder Statistics

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