Chicago, also known as Chi-raq for its city streets being as dangerous as an Iraqi war zone, has another record-setting bloody year in 2016.
“The Windy City saw 3,550 shooting incidents and 762 murders last year, a grim total that works out to an average of more than two murders and nearly 10 shootings every single day,” according to ABC News.
3,550 incidents all resulting in the loud shot of a gun and bullets hitting the pavement, all in a 365 day period. 762 mother’s children all had to all be buried within a 365 day period.
The city saw 282 more murders this past year than 2015. This fact could really mean a couple of things; for example, guns are becoming easier to access, or Chicago gang violence has risen so much that the streets have become quite more dangerous than in years past.
“Homicides in Chicago jumped to their highest level since 1996, when 796 were recorded, according to historical data from the Chicago Police Department. Last year’s total represents a 57 percent increase over 2015, the biggest spike in murders in Chicago in 60 years,” according to the Associated Press of ABC News.
“I grew up in the south side of the city, a neighborhood I thought was very very safe, but I went to school across town where we had to cut across certain neighborhoods. In the 90s, we knew some particular neighborhoods with gangs. Some neighborhoods had Latino gangs and a couple had some black gangs so we had to take short cuts. But I never felt unsafe at my school, and yes, it was a tough area to be but still I had a great experience,” said Mrs. Kenney, Boys’ Latin guidance counselor and Chicago native.
Nonetheless, nobody has the perfect system to reverse these acts of violence. “I think how purchasing firearms needs to be better managed, but I think they are being purchased illegally which is the big problem. I am also a big advocate for after school programs for safe places for children to go so that they are less likely to choose the street,” said Kenney.
It is clear that many people have given up on the city and lost hope but that may have been a little premature. “City officers made 10% more gun arrests in 2016 and confiscated 8,300 guns, a 20% increase from 2015,” according to a Christian News Article.
Chicago is taking baby steps in the right direction, but they still have a long way to go. It is hard to see which direction the city will turn this year, but optimism is key.
“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties,” once said Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. The city needs more optimists with it to progress.