Chicago’s troubling gun epidemic has reached the 1,000 shootings milestone much earlier than it has in past years, according to the Chicago Tribune. This year, it took roughly four months for the Windy City to reach the mark, compared to last year when it wasn’t achieved until late May or early June.
On Wednesday, 13 people were shot over a 14-hour stretch. Victims included a 4-year-old who received a gunshot wound to his foot and a 16-year-old who has the dubious honor of being the 1000th person shot this year.
Naturally, with shootings come gun deaths. Over the past year, homicides in the city have risen. Based on data from the Chicago Police Department, a total of 161 homicides have already occurred in 2016. That is a 64 percent increase from the 98 killings during all of last year. Morale in the police department is decreasing, and their willingness to even perform the basic duties of their job is falling as well.
After the shooting death of LaQuan McDonald in which McDonald was shot 16 times by CPD, the city and the ACLU reached an agreement to make detailed reports of every arrest to try to prevent racial profiling. This led to an increase in the amount of paperwork officers had to file and decreased the number of arrests made. This led to officers beginning to second guess every arrest they make, leading them to be more passive during patrols.
While much discussion has been had, very few have offered a solution to the gun violence in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has received much criticism from observers who accuse him of doing little to nothing at all to placate the crisis. Yesterday, Emanuel announced an immediate police reform to help rebuild trust between the citizens and the police. Whether or not this is a step in the right direction remains to be seen. Reverend Jesse Jackson had this to say about the matter.
“This rises to the level of intervention. [President Obama] came and spoke to police chiefs a few months ago,” Jackson said to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m urging him to come to Englewood or Roseland or Lawndale, the scene of the crime because we need more than just the absence of police crime.”
In popular culture, Chicago has been given the nickname of ‘Chiraq’ due to the obscene number of deaths that occur in the city. Just last year Director Spike Lee released a film using the name, in an attempt to highlight the violent and careless nature of the city’s gangs. Despite being panned by critics and locals who felt that it failed the capture the truth behind what is going on, the film did bring attention to the problem.
As the ongoing discussion surrounding gun reform continues,, the citizens of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods will remain in the crossfire of one of the deadliest times in the city’s history.