Just a week after Chicago officials proudly announced that the city’s homicide rate is at its lowest level in 50 years, the Windy City was consumed by a spate of gun violence over Father’s Day weekend, with seven people killed and more than 40 wounded in various incidents.
There were several reasons given for the drop in homicides over the past year, including more money spent by the police department for overtime to increase street patrols; a citywide program that resulted in the confiscation of thousands of guns; and even the weather temperature.
“The drop in Chicago’s murder rate correlates to an unseasonably cold winter and spring this year,” Justin Peters wrote on Slate.com. ”Plenty of evidence indicates that crime rates tend to rise and fall along with the temperature. Instead of chewing through the CPD’s overtime budget, maybe the city would be better off just buying everyone in the impact zones some air conditioners.”
As Chicago’s temperatures rise, the resulting violence may give credence to Peters’ point. The warm weather peaked to 80 degrees over the weekend.
“The fact that we’ve had a colder than usual, and had a warmer than usual spring last year, that may be a factor in both the increase that we saw last year and the decrease that we’ve seen this year,” Roseanna Ander, the founding executive director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, told theGrio in an interview earlier this week.
As usual, the murders seemed concentrated on the West Side and the South Side of Chicago. 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 four of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods on The NeighborhoodScout’s list, with the area of South Halsted Street and West 77th Street coming in fourth, 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.
In a shooting on Saturday night, a 16-year-old boy was shot by a gunman who rode on a bicycle on the West Side of the city. The boy apparently tried to escape, but collapsed steps away from where he was shot. He sustained wounds to his back and arm and was ultimately pronounced dead at 1:37 a.m. at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
Police said the teen had gang affiliations, according to NBC Chicago.
Another teen died at 1:15 a.m. Sunday as police responded to a call and found 19-year-old Jamal Jones bleeding from his stomach, chest and shoulder. He was later pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in nearby Southwest Suburban Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
At around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, a man died in a police-involved shooting in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago after officers attempted to pull over a car several times.
When the driver jumped out and ran, police gave chase. As they stopped him in an alley, police reportedly noticed a gun in his belt. Police allege the man reached for the gun, so they opened fire, killing him.
The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the shooting.