For those who live in the city or surrounding suburbs, hearing about a shooting in the Chicagoland area seems to be a common, everyday occurrence. Every night on the news viewers expect to hear about another deadly shooting, which is sad reality. Statistics are out and there were 51 recorded homicides in the month of January alone, which is the highest number seen since 2000. This number is up quite a bit from the 29 recorded murders in January for 2015 and 20 for 2014. Now Chicago police are working harder than ever to determine the cause of all the violence in the city.
Reasons for increased violence
Police believe gang conflicts and retaliation are a large reason why there has been an increase in gun violence. Just recently, video surveillance was made available in the Laquan McDonald case, where a Chicago Police Officer was recorded shooting McDonald 16 times. Police believe this could be another possible reason for the increase in violence. It is also a possibility that police are being less aggressive for fear of departmental backlash. The overall number of murders in 2015 was up 12.5% from 2014. Overall reports for 2015 show 468 murders and 2,900 shootings. Clearly this is a growing problem that needs attention.
Internet fueling some of the violence
With the prominence of social media these days, it seems as though it can be a potential reason for some of the increased violence. John Escalante who is serving as the Interim police superintendent was frustrated after hearing about the homicide increase. Because most of the cases were gang related, he felt worried that social media is in fact fueling some of the gang disputes, which lead to shootings in Chicago neighborhoods, increasing the number of fatal incidents in the city. Escalante calls this the new way of gang graffiti, in taunting and challenging other gangs through the use of social media.
Number of shootings over the span of a weekend
The weekend of February 19th through the 22nd totaled 27 shootings throughout the Chicagoland area. Not all of these were fatal, but many involved children and teens. This is why shootings have become such an issue. Gang members are taking the violence to areas where children are active and these children become susceptible to the shootings. A full map tracker of all shooting locations can be found here.
Increase in shootings on Chicago Expressways
In addition to shooting crimes on the streets, there have been a growing number of shootings on Chicago expressways. The Illinois State Police will add more uniformed patrols, aircraft, video cameras, and undercover police officers. Since January 1st, there have already been 6 shootings which have taken place on the Dan Ryan, Kennedy, Bishop Ford, and Eisenhower expressways. It was not determined how many more police officers would be made available on the expressways, but the added security began Monday, February 22nd.
As the gun violence continues, Chicagoland residents wonder when enough is enough. How can the city work to end the problem before it gets even worse?