Six people were killed and 11 wounded over the weekend in Chicago, bringing added attention to the problem of ongoing gun violence that many observers have blamed on gang warfare.
The violence occurred the same week as a dramatic and emotional meeting of the Chicago School Board, which voted unanimously to close 49 schools in the nation’s third-largest district and move thousands of children to new schools, angering parents and community leaders who claim the closings will devastate neighborhoods and ignite further gang skirmishes.
And as the city plans to close the schools to save about $500 million over 10 years—in the midst of a $1 billion deficit—Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to spend $300 million of taxpayer money in public projects, with the centerpiece a $173 million 10,000-seat arena for the DePaul University basketball team that will be connected to a convention center. Emanuel said the arena and other projects, such as a hotel and the upgrade of Navy Pier, would create 10,000 construction jobs and 3,700 permanent jobs.
“This is unprecedented,” Emanuel said at a news conference. “It will open doors and opportunities for economic growth in the area.” He added that the arena will enable the city to win small- to midsize conventions and meetings that now take a pass on the city.
In the weekend violence, a 42-year-old man, Charles Jones, was shot in the head early Sunday and pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital at around 3:30 a.m. The shooting was linked to a car crash that caused one woman to be taken to the hospital.
Also on Sunday, a man in his late 20s was shot in the armpit and pronounced dead, while on Saturday, 18-year-old Fearro Denard was shot and killed, and a 29-year-old man was shot not far from President Barack Obama’s South Side home.
On Friday in two separate shootings, a 17-year-old and 22-year old were killed.
Despite the media reports, Chicago actually ranked No. 79 on The NeighborhoodScout’s recent list of the 100 most dangerous cities in the U.S.
In Chicago, the danger is mostly concentrated in a few bad neighborhoods—indeed, the city had 4 of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods on The NeighborhoodScout’s list, with the area of South Halsted Street and West 77th Street coming in 4th, behind three neighborhoods in Detroit.
According to the website, chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in this Chicago neighborhood are 1 in 9.