Chicago Hit With Early Crime Wave

12 murders this week prompt SWAT teams to take to the streets
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2008 12:26 PM CDT
Chicago Police will take to the streets in extra numbers this weekend to combat an increase in violence that arrived along with warmer weather.   (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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(Newser) – An explosion of violence in Chicago last weekend—three dozen shootings that resulted in seven deaths—and a quintuple homicide on Wednesday have local police struggling for an explanation, as well as a response. Crime usually jumps later in the year, the Chicago Tribune notes, when both the weather and gang activity heat up. 

The department will be increasing its presence—including SWAT teams in battle dress—in dangerous neighborhoods this weekend to help calm things down. The city's new police superintendent, a former FBI agent, disbanded a controversial Special Operations Section that had targeted street crime, leaving some officers grumbling about their ability to fight gang violence.