Weekend Gun Violence Reporting

This weekend the city saw 77 shootings and tragically 6 fatalities. This number is up from the
weekend before which saw 5 killed and another 47 wounded in shootings and is the highest
weekend of 2021. Unfortunately, the continually rainy weather we have been seeing has done
little to tamp down the numbers Mayor Lightfoot has described as naggingly high, and higher
than last year, although she continues to claim progress is being made.

The weekend saw a continuation of an alarming trend of mass shootings. The South
Shore and Marquette Park neighborhoods saw 17 shot in two incidents. In the Sun Times, the
following situation was described like this. “One resident, who asked not to be named, said he
called 9-1-1 about 30 minutes before the shooting because he was concerned about the group,
but said officers did not respond. He said he even walked into the 7th District police station
nearby to tell police about the gathering earlier in the night and was told to call 9-1-1.” Many in
the policing community say they are stretched thin this summer, which whether or not is
accurate, could be one reason this group of police officers chose not to follow up on the call.
Another possibility is that the relationship between the police in the 7th district and the
community isn’t great and they don’t trust one another. Adding to this, it would make sense this
source chose not to be named.

Another bleak story reported over the weekend was from Block Club Chicago. The
article, which may not have been big enough to be picked up by bigger news sources, was
about the closing of the 75th street boardwalk in Chatham after the Park Manor area mass
shooting this weekend. This boardwalk was basically a deck with flexible seating outside
covering part of the street to make additional outdoor seating during the pandemic. This type of
seating is common in trendy and ritzier neighborhoods but not much in Chatham. Even
Vice-President Kamala Harris stopped by and was impressed by it in her visit through Chicago
and it has won many urban planning awards. According to the story, throngs of people have
been congregating on this boardwalk after beaches and nearby clubs close at night in recent
weeks.

Overall, I think Block Club did a good job staying impartial, and interviewing both sides
of whether or not the removal was a good thing. They made sure not to interview any city
bureaucrats, police officers, or urban planners who don’t live in the community. The people living
in these communities know their problems best. On one hand, if the neighborhood agrees it’s
unsafe at this time to have an open space on the streets, then like I said, they know best. On
the other hand, people can gather anywhere and business owners have had more draw to their
businesses because of the boardwalk. On a larger scale, this choice calls into question how far
community revitalization projects can go while some neighborhoods are still seeing huge
amounts of shootings. Do better parks or places to eat outside really improve quality of life while
people don’t feel safe to use them? As the owner of one of the businesses on this boardwalk
Stephanie Hart put it, “Unfortunately, sometimes when something terrible happens, people look
at what’s different and what’s changed even though it is a beautiful thing.” What is clear is that
what hasn’t changed in many Chicago neighborhoods is that gun violence is still devastating
any efforts of beautification and improving quality of life.

Weekend
Weekend

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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