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CHICAGO (AP) — Homicides and shootings have surged in Chicago during the first seven months of the year.

From Jan. 1 through the end of July, there were 440 homicides in Chicago and 2,240 people shot, including many of those who were killed, according to statistics released Saturday by the police department.

There were 290 homicides and 1,480 shootings, including people who were killed, in the first seven months of last year.

July was especially violent, as the city recorded 105 homicides and 584 shootings. Among them was a 9-year-old boy who was killed Friday when someone opened fire in the direction of a number of people, including him and his friends, according to police.

There were 308 shootings and 44 homicides in July 2019.

Despite the increase in violent crime, overall crime, which includes violent crimes, burglaries and thefts, was down 9% compared to the same period last year. The decrease was driven by a 26% decline in thefts and a 19% decline in sexual assaults, police said.

The police department is moving more officers into districts and has been “focused on creating teams that can address violent crime head-on within our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” police Superintendent David O. Brown said in a news release.

Violent crime has risen in many U.S. cities this year. President Donald Trump recently announced he was sending federal agents to some of them, including Chicago, to help local authorities fight such crime as part of an operation that started last year.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot pushed back in letter to the White House, writing: “We need you, as President, to take a leadership role in enacting meaningful and common-sense gun legislation, which you so far have refused to do.”

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Chicago looters must be prosecuted for actions, FOP president says; Catanzara appeals to feds, saying Foxx too soft on crime

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The president of the Fraternal Order of Police says looters need to be prosecuted for their actions.

And he believes that is not going to happen, so he's appealing to federal prosecutors.

FOP President John Catanzara Jr. hand-delivered a letter to U.S. Attorney John Lausch's office at the Dirksen Federal Building Thursday morning.

In the one-and-a-half-page letter, he asks federal prosecutors to step in to pursue charges against looters who took part in the chaos in Downtown, the Loop and other areas of the city on Monday.

Catanzara said Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx will let suspects cycle through the system without consequences.

He believes criminals took aim at the Downtown area again, after getting away with the same crimes during the widespread unrest that took place in late May in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

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"Unless you're gonna charge 'em with domestic terrorism, that's about the only thing you can really do because you can make the argument that their violence is a form of domestic terrorism," Catanzara said.

Foxx has rejected the notion that she is soft on crime.

She has said her office has not dropped any looting cases related to what happened in May.

"The issue is about making sure we hold people accountable, and we've been doing that and being honest and forthright about how the process works and not politicizing this," Foxx said.

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Catanzara carbon-copied President Donald Trump on the letter, along with U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

The FOP president has been highly critical of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, saying her response to the looting and general city violence has been a complete failure.

Back in July, he wrote the president, asking for help to bring law and order to the city, only to be blasted by nearly two dozen lawmakers who disagreed, saying more policing is not the answer.

The FOP is also asking the feds to shut down a protest on the Dan Ryan Expressway planned for this weekend, citing federal jurisdiction over impeding interstate commerce.

"I want them to come and lock up anybody who steps in the expressway and charge them with felony federal charges," Catanzara said.

Lausch's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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