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Chicago dragnet fails to stem crime wave

Despite a major gang-member roundup by Chicago police, the Windy City experienced another weekend of violence, with five shooting deaths and 34 more people wounded through Sunday.

In fact, one murder and seven shootings occurred within a 90-minute time span on Saturday night, according to police reports.

The spate of violence occurred within two days after police launched one of the city's largest-ever gang member roundups, arresting 140 people, including 95 known gang members who were on the department's strategic subjects list.

Their dragnet came in advance of warmer summer months, when Windy City gang shootings have historically skyrocketed, including hundreds of youth deaths occurring over the past several years.

City leaders have not been able to solve its violence problems, where shootings have occurred mainly on Chicago's South and West sides.

Police sought the help of the community Sunday as shootings spiral out of control, creating an ongoing climate of fear and outrage. The city has racked up one of the nation's top murder rates in the first quarter of 2016 with 141 reported deaths, compared with 82 in the same time period last year.

“As we look toward the summer months, (Chicago Police) Superintendent (Eddie) Johnson has made it very clear that the violence will not be tolerated — period,” Chicago Police said in a statement issued Sunday. “The cause of the violence traces back decades, and everyone has a role to play in fixing it — police working with parents, judges, residents, clergy, community leaders and others. Put simply, we need more values, fewer guns and stronger sentences against violence offenders.”

Last week's gang roundup was called historic by police officials, who targeted known violent areas in the city's 11th and 15th districts. In addition to the arrests, they seized about $7,000 in cash, $45,000 in narcotic drugs and 23 weapons.

The mass raid came after a rough Mother's Day weekend, which saw eight people killed and 41 wounded.

Chicago, which has the nation's third-largest police force, is not alone, however, in a rising climate of violence. Last week, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a group of urban police leaders, issued a report that found 30 major cities were experiencing spikes this year in their murder rates, including Dallas; San Antonio; Memphis; Nashville; Las Vegas; Jacksonville, Florida; and Los Angeles.

In 2015, Chicago led the nation with 470 homicides, a rise of 13 percent over 2014. During the same period, 2,939 people were victims of shootings.

Policing has been under fire in Chicago. The department issued a report in April that found ongoing abuses directed at black residents, describing its "racist history and use of excessive force," along with a "fundamental lack of accountability and a stunning lack of transparency."

In December 2015, the U.S. Justice Department also began its own civil rights investigation of city policing.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in May he was disbanding the city's Independent Police Review Authority. It had long been criticized for taking too long to investigate possible wrongdoing within the police force and rarely taking action when it was uncovered.

Emanuel said he hopes to create a new and more independent Civilian Police Investigative Agency, writing in a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed published May 13 that it is needed "to rebuild trust in investigations of officer-involved shootings and the most serious allegations of police misconduct."

Emanuel's plan will be introduced at a June 22 City Council meeting, he said in his letter. "We want to make sure the police accountability system is trusted by the members of the Chicago Police Department and the resients of Chicago," he wrote.