Chicago Alderman Anthony Napolitano reacted to the violent Fourth of July weekend in his city on Monday, calling the area a “war zone,” and slammed local leaders, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, for the increase in crime.
“We are averaging over 6,000 people shot over the last 18 months,” Napolitano, a former Chicago police officer, noted on “Fox & Friends First” on Monday.
At least 82 people have been shot with 14 of them being deadly, since 5 p.m. Friday, CBS Chicago reported on Monday morning.
The media outlet noted that in comparison, during Independence Day weekend in 2019, at least 68 people were shot, five fatally and in 2020, nearly 80 people were shot and 15 were killed.
One of the victims of this past weekend’s violence in Chicago was a 19-year-old active member of the National Guard who was shot and killed, NBC Chicago reported.
Chrys Carvajal was found unresponsive on a Chicago sidewalk with gunshot wounds at around 1:25 Saturday morning, the outlet reported, citing police. Family members reportedly told the station that Carvajal had been home for less than a month and had plans to return to a National Guard base.
Lightfoot blamed the violence in her city on several factors, including gun laws in the states and locales surrounding Chicago.
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“I believe that violence is a manifestation of systemic problems, and it’s a public health crisis,” she said in an interview with WTTW, a local PBS station. “When you see, in way too many neighborhoods, a lack of jobs, a lack of investment – these are historic, decades-long problems.”
Chicago is “surrounded by” suburbs and states “that have very lax gun laws,” Lightfoot continued.
“We know that federally licensed gun dealers are selling to criminals and straw purchasers,” she said. “…We know that because of our proximity to states like Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan that … you can go across the border into these states, and if you’ve got the cash, you can buy literally military-grade weapons of any quantity and bring them back to Chicago.”
Napolitano, the alderman for Chicago’s 41st ward, called Lightfoot’s argument “pure nonsense,” adding that “we have the strongest and the strictest gun laws in the state, if not the country.”
He also noted that border towns have “nowhere near the amount of crime we do.”
Nearly 1,500 people have been shot so far in Chicago in 2021 – a 12% increase compared to 2020 and a 59% increase compared to 2019, according to the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics for the week ending June 27.
A spokesperson for Lightfoot did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Napolitano also slammed Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx, who he referred to as “by far the worst in the nation,” for the increase in crime.
He said that when criminals get arrested, “they’re out within a couple hours because we have the worst state’s attorney in the country, [who] wants to prosecute nobody.”
Napolitano then suggested that aldermen, like himself, should start tackling the problem on their own so curb crime in the area.
“As legislators, if we start changing the way our city ordinances are written, we can start hitting criminals in the pocket, on behalf of what crimes they’re committing in the city of Chicago alone,” he said.
“[The] state’s attorney can drop all of her charges every day of the week like she’s been doing, but we should take care of it more at the local level and that’s a way that we can start curbing crime here.”
A spokesperson for Foxx did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Raymond Lopez, alderman for Chicago’s 15th ward, told “America’s Newsroom” on Friday that the city’s leadership is not up for the job of keeping residents safe.
On Monday, Napolitano explained that he, Lopez and another Chicago alderman, Anthony Beale, held a special city council meeting on Friday and “we got actually up to 47 aldermen to he show up on behalf of this crime issue” to discuss how the mayor is “going be held accountable for this.”
He noted that at the end of the meeting “we realized it’s kind of a smoke and mirror tactic right now.”
“There’s no real plan in place,” Napolitano continued. “So as legislators I just think that we have to change the dynamic of the way we go after crime.”
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“We have to take crime in the pocket,” he stressed, noting that “that’s the only way” to tackle the problem.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.