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Violence in Chicago and Cook County has increased massively in 2021 — the highest totals in over 25 years. The year is almost over and Cook County has already seen over 1,000 homicides, with people of color predominantly being the victims, according to county officials.
By the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office verified its 1,000th homicide. Unfortunately, this number has since increased. The last time Cook County has seen horrific numbers like this was back in 1994 when they saw 1,141. Before that was 1,229 homicides in 1991.
This year’s data shows that 81% of the homicides were Black individuals with Latinos making up 15% of the deaths. It also shows that males account for 88% of the victims. The age range for the victims was 1-month old to 84 years old. Those aged between 20 to 29 accounted for the largest number of homicide victims.
Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed 777 homicides occurred in Chicago alone this year. However, the Chicago Police Department’s new crime data indicates the city has
only had 741 homicides this year.
Recently, State Senator Darren Bailey — a Republican candidate for Illinois governor — along with others spent a night in Woodlawn. After his campout, Bailey spoke about the city’s deadly street violence.
The senator used the moment to accuse Governor JB Pritzker of not doing enough to counter
Chicago’s flood of bloody violence. However, Bailey was vague on what he would do differently.
Although he did say, “I will search the state. I will find wonderful projects like project H.O.O.D., trustworthy leaders like Pastor Corey Brooks and I believe we need to redirect funds, get them directly to the street, where they need to go.”
Brooks is the Pastor who hopes to raise several million dollars to build a community center.
There are also other Republican candidates focusing to curb violence in Chicago. Citizens, outreach programs, and businesses are joining in to help irradicate the violence.
One, in particular, is Downstate tech entrepreneur Jesse Sullivan who believes Pritzker has not
Our political leaders have failed us. They want to separate this out into blue lives versus
Black lives. It’s not only wrong-headed, it’s dangerous.
He added, “Because the truth is, 95 percent of all of those violent deaths that have happened — the victims are of minority communities.” Pritzker recently signed into law a three-year anti-violence initiative that includes $250 million in new funding, according to a spokeswoman for the governor. She also stated that Bailey voted against the law.
A group called Chicago CRED takes a multifaceted approach to reduce violence. Their approach has been proven to work in other cities. In order to create a lasting change, they work directly with those individuals who are likely to carry a firearm or become a victim.
In addition, they closely work with the communities where gun violence is most concentrated. They uplift young Chicagoans and rally neighborhoods through “Coaching & Counseling,” Workforce Development, Street Outreach, and “Advocacy & Prevention.”They work hard to dramatically rewrite the story of gun violence in the city.
At the beginning of July 2021, Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke with President Joe Biden at O’Hare Airport about the extra resources he promised to curb violence in the city. At that time, the mayor told reporters it would happen “relatively soon.”
Many citizens are hoping something is done immediately to help decrease and end the violence.
“It’s obvious: we cannot arrest our way out of this problem… Fundamentally, you look at the West Side and you look at the problems, the opioid addiction that is really harming so many individuals, families and communities, the investments we have to make in human capital and the investments we have to make in infrastructure, those are why I spend so much time on the West Side,” Lightfoot explained.
Currently, Lightfoot’s intervention program is scheduled to receive an increase in funding in 2022.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Chicago Sun-Times: Lightfoot on Biden sending aid to Chicago to curb gun violence: A matter of ‘incredible urgency’; by Lynn Sweet
Fox 32 Chicago: Illinois lawmaker says Pritzker not doing enough to curb Chicago’s rising violence; by Mike Flannery
WTTW: Cook County Tops 1,000 Homicides For First Time Since 1994; by Matt Masterson
Chicago CRED: About
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of duncan c’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of TheeErin’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License