Chicago Top Cop Blames Facebook for Shootings Up Over 200% Since Last Year

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

Chicago’s interim police superintendent John Escalante is struggling to explain the wild jump in shootings in the Windy City, and he thinks he has at least part of the explanation: it’s social media’s fault.

At a Wednesday presser, interim Chicago police superintendent Escalante blamed the “spike” in shootings on the fact that many of the city’s gang members are driven by constant agitation on social media sites such as Facebook.

“A lot of it is gang conflicts, but [it’s] also heavily driven by social media,” Escalante said, “It is the new way… of taunting and challenging other gangs, and is the modern way of gang graffiti.”

Escalante isn’t the only local official to blame Facebook. Last May Alderman Joe Moore also blamed the increased number of shootings on the concurrent increase in “taunts and insults” on Facebook.

But while this social media claim might satisfy some, others feel that it is the fault of changes in policy inside the Chicago Police Department.

Chicago’s DNAInfo reports that there has been a major drop in the number of investigative stops in the city — and not just a small drop, either.

“In the first 11 days of the year,” DNAinfo writes, “officers filed just 3,916 investigative stop reports compared to 16,698 during the same time period last year, according to police data.”

That is a 79 percent drop in investigative stops, in just a year. This is a major change in police policy.

Further, “gun confiscations and arrests are each down more than 35 percent this year.”

Perhaps, as a more direct result of the massive drop in stops and gun investigations, the city has now experienced more shootings in just the first 15 days of January this year than occurred in the whole month of January in 2015.

Whatever the cause, already for 2016, the city has suffered 155 total shootings with 25 killed as a result.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at


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