How’s the strictest gun control laws in America working out for ya there, Chi-town?
Mr. Emanuel listed safer streets among his top three priorities when he became mayor a year ago, but Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, is now testing that promise. Homicides are up by 38 percent from a year ago, and shootings have increased as well, even as killings have held steady or dropped in New York, Los Angeles and some other cities. As of June 17, 240 people had been killed here this year, mostly in shootings, 66 more deaths than occurred in the same period in 2011.
“That’s somebody’s husband, somebody’s son, and they’re dying right on our block,” said Maya Hodari, who lives on a South Side street where two shootings have already taken place this year, one of them fatal and another as a toddler looked on. “It hurts.”
The violence has left its largest scars in some of Chicago’s most impoverished, struggling neighborhoods on the South and West Sides, places with views of the city’s gleaming downtown skyline that feel worlds apart. Wealthier, whiter parts of the city have not been entirely immune – shootings were reported in the last few days along the city’s Magnificent Mile shopping district and near the Lincoln Park Zoo – but a majority of the killings have been tied to Chicago’s increasingly complicated gang warfare, police statistics suggest, and to the gritty neighborhoods where gangs have long thrived.
To make matters worse, there has been an epidemic of “flash mob” violence as groups of black youths suddenly attack whites in apparent racially motivated incidents. The media is downplaying the attacks, which are becoming more frequent as kids are now out of school and roaming the streets at night.
There are a lot fewer policemen in Chicago – part of a consolidation and budget cutting plan by Emmanuel. But it is doubtful that police would have made much of a difference in these homicides or the flash mob violence for that matter. The city is sick – gangs are out of control, schools are in shambles, and city government is as corrupt as ever.
It makes one pine for Daley.