As violent crime skyrockets in Chicago, ‘the safety gap’ between neighborhoods widens

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Don’t feel safe downtown? Try to head towards West Garfield Park.

The 16 police crossings that cover most of the greater downtown area have recorded a total of 77 shootings so far this year, tripling the rate of shootings from 2019, and the largest percentage increase in shootings in the city, according to a Sun-Times analysis. find. But that tally isn’t that far off the tally of 62 shootouts in a single eight-by-five block section of West Garfield Park that includes the city’s most violent pace.

West Garfield Park, the city’s most dangerous community area, has seen a rate of shootings per capita nearly 20 times higher than the city center, according to a Sun-Times analysis of city data. The gap is even greater with six other police districts that make up much of the North Side.

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Crime has increased across the city in 2020 and so far this year, but the wave has been hardest in remote inner-city neighborhoods that have long suffered violence at terrifying rates. And the security gap between the city’s affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods and largely poor black and Latino neighborhoods has never been greater.

So far this year, the murder rate in the seven most dangerous police districts has reached a three-decade high of nearly 100 homicides per 100,000 population, 30 times higher than the rate in the seven most dangerous districts. safe, where the rate has fallen to less than 4 per 100,000, according to a University of Chicago Crime Lab analysis.

“People say this is the story of two cities: the downtown area is like Manhattan and the south and west sides have homicide rates comparable to violent countries in South America,” Kimberly said. Smith, director of programs at the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

Residents of high crime neighborhoods have increasingly left the city, although the city saw a slight increase in the last census in 2020, with a sharp increase in the number of residents living in the city center.

“The loss of life is obviously not a good thing. And the fact that it is concentrated in a few areas is not good. … If we think homicides push people out of town, homicides are not good if they happen downtown or in West Garfield Park.

Even during the high crime years of the 1990s, the homicide rate gap for Chicago’s seven safest police districts was much smaller, about seven times lower than for the seven least safe districts. Murders in all districts declined mainly over the next decade, then began to increase in less safe districts in early 2004, as rates continued to decline elsewhere. Murder rates jumped in less safe neighborhoods in 2016, from 45 to 81 murders per 100,000, and have continued to climb significantly.

Chicago Police are monitoring bars near East Hubbard and North State Streets on the Near North Side, early Saturday, October 2, 2021.
Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times

Despite labor shortages that led to reinforcements in the police response to emergencies across town, Englewood resident Rena Cunningham was surprised to see the resources available for the downtown district. -City late on a recent Friday night.

Visiting downtown from the south side with friends, Cunningham watched a half-dozen patrol cars blocking West Hubbard Street between State and Dearborn. Cunningham has seen his share of patrol cars in his South Side neighborhood, where there have been more than 300 shootings so far this year, including more than 40 fatalities.

“Has anyone been shot?” Cunningham asked a passerby.

In fact, the police were in force for another reason: to watch tow trucks carrying cars parked on Hubbard for breaking the midnight to 5 a.m. parking ban. The parking enforcement was initiated at the request of local traders in response to the violent assault of two men who were severely beaten and robbed outside a convenience store around the corner.

“I’ve never seen so many cars in my neighborhood unless someone gets shot,” Cunningham said.

Data analysis was performed by Andy Boyle and Jesse Howe.


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