Over the weekend, 42 people were wounded and 5 people were killed in the Windy City as a result of shootings, according to Fox News. The deaths come amid a national debate on guns after the recent tragedies in El Paso and Dayton.
CBS Chicago reports that last weekend 7 people were killed and 46 were wounded from shooting-related incidences. The prior weekend 8 people were killed and 39 were wounded. The weekend before that, 9 were killed and 32 more were wounded. During fourth of July weekend, nearly 70 people were shot, five of which would eventually succumb to their injuries. This trend continues week after week, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade.
So far this year, 309 people have been killed in Chicago, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. That figures averages out to 1.6 murders per day since January 1st. The city is also on track to nearly match the body count of Detroit and Baltimore combined. If the average rate of murders keeps up, then 587 people in the city will die from gunfire in 2019.
The demographics of the deceased are not evenly distributed among the races. A preponderance of those killed are black, as 75 percent of the victims are African American. While Hispanics make up the second-largest group, they make up only 18 percent of all victims. The percentages are not consistent with the demographics of the city, as only 30 percent of the city is black. This means that black people are disproportionately hit by a factor of 2.6. Men are also over-represented on the list of the dead, accounting for 90% of the victims. These numbers are according to the most recent data released from the Chicago Police Department.
Although these statistics are horrible, the homicide rate is significantly lower than it was in 2016 and 2017. The reason for this is mainly the subsidence of the so-called “Ferguson effect.” The “Ferguson effect” is the feeling of distrust and resentment towards the police by local racial minorities. This occurred nationwide after a white police officer shot Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri — a shooting the Obama Department of Justice determined was justified after an extensive review of the evidence and 40 witness testimonies. The fracturing of the bond between local communities and their constables, along with federal pressure applied to local police, weakened the effectiveness of law enforcement. The diminished capabilities of the police created a vacuum that criminals exploited.
The country at-large witnessed a rise in violent crime, with Chicago especially experiencing a huge surge in gun-related homicides.
Chicago has been a violent city for a long time and is notorious for being a hotbed of illegality, going back to the days of bootlegging by characters such as Al Capone in the 1920s. A crime wave hit the city in 1965 and it never truly subsided. Shootings would reach their peak in 1994. The violence was so great that Congress was forced to act. The federal government passed the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which is known as the “1994 Crime Bill.” Since the bill was passed, crime has decreased significantly. While shooting remains the highest of any city across much of the Western world, the situation has significantly improved. (See the graph below.)
The city remains the most violent place in the country — with the relative decrease in crime — due solely to the truly abysmal state that Chicago was previously in.