In Chicago, the violent crimes are at nearly a thirty year low. However, the rate of violence in the city is still very staggering. The violence is not limited to adults, Chicago’s youth suffers from it almost even more; in 2012 there was one thousand one hundred and nine school aged young people shot, two hundred and sixteen of those people were killed.
Around half of the homicide victims in Chicago, IL are between the young ages of ten and twenty-five. In 2011 Chicago experienced a double to triple amount of murders per capita in comparison to nearby cities such as New York and Los Angeles when there were four hundred and thirty-three people were murdered.
Many times crimes will be committed out of necessity such as shoplifting incident when someone is in dire need or trying to feed their family. That being said the same crime committed by organized gangs as an attempt to cost stores millions of dollars on a yearly basis is completely different. Much like a shooting where someone acts out of self-defense and shooting where there is intent to kill. Committing a crime is committing a crime even if the reasons may vary.
Although Chicago as a whole is considered to be a violent city, it should not be a generalization. As in basically any city, there are certain community areas and neighborhoods that violence is restricted to. For Chicago, these areas are in the southern regions as well as the central-west areas. The most number of homicides, specifically first and second-degree murders have been reported to have occurred in Humboldt Park, Austin, New City Community and Englewood.
It is important to point out that not everyone of these neighborhoods is African-American, what they do have in common is that although not all, most have at least a certain amount of impoverished residents and most murders are committed by people who know each other. Unfortunately only around one percent of the violence is covered by the media, the other ninety-nine percent may never even be discussed.
Chicago is many times painted to be worse than it is and made to seem as if the violence is from predominantly “black” neighborhoods. To shed some light on the violence in those neighborhoods; it can be closely linked to many housing projects being shut down and the residents being left with no real plan.
This has caused so much unrest among the residents of these communities to the point that even with the slightest hint of disrespect between community members, violence tends to erupt which many times can, unfortunately, lead to fatalities. Often it comes across as a vicious cycle that can be difficult to bring to an end.
This does not mean that there is no hope for Chicago. I believe that the key to resolving crime in Chicago could lie in reaching the youth with gang intervention programs as well as community programs which offer social, emotional learning initiatives, cognitive behavioral therapies. There are many programs being implemented by the CPD such as the SAFE Communities, Gang School Safety, Chicago Safe Start, After Care services and much more. With the support of the CPD and the assistance of the communities, there is hope that Chicago can overcome this wave of violence.