Gun violence rising in Chicago


Tomas Castelazo

“photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license”.

The Chicago Police Department reports that the city has recorded a total of at least 2,688 shooting incidents that have happened in Chicago in 2021, an 11 percent increase from the same period as last year.

In Chicago, most shootings are happening in low-income communities. “The constant is young people,” said former President Barack Obama, “mostly young men who have not gotten a good education, don’t have a good opportunity, are not seeing good role models, are living in neighborhoods that are frayed and fractured.” 

The City of Chicago has recorded at least 602 homicides this year, a 4 percent increase from 2020. Due to gun violence rising, Chicago has begun installing Bleeding Control Kits across the city under the new Safe Chicago program amid an increase in gun violence. The city will install 426 Bleeding Control Kits in 269 Chicago buildings, including City Hall and Chicago Public Library locations under the new Safe Chicago Program. Each kit can treat up to eight victims. The kit comes with a tourniquet, gauze, shears, gloves, and an instruction manual. Life-threatening bleeding emergencies can be the result of falls, penetrating injuries, gunshot wounds, and more. Knowing how to control bleeding from a serious injury will potentially save lives.  

Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave a speech pushing a narrative that’s dominated city news conferences and court hearings for decades. “We have a common enemy,” she said. “It’s the guns and the gangs. Eradicating both is complex, but we cannot let the size of the challenge deter us. We have to continue striking hard blows, every day. No gang member, no drug dealer, no gun dealer can ever have a moment of peace on any block, any neighborhood, not in our city.” 

On August 2nd, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a plan requiring background checks for all gun sales in the state by 2024. The measure also provides funding for mental health programs in communities most impacted by gun violence and creates a stolen gun database. But, that hasn’t slowed down the homicide and murder rate in Chicago. 

Lightfoot has taken steps toward fulfilling her progressive vision. She has carved out a new public safety office to elevate public health approaches to curbing gun violence, and stacked her administration with experts renowned for their work on community-based violence prevention programs and police reform, earning plaudits from anti-violence activists. Lightfoot has been flooding neighborhoods with police officers to stop the issues, but the percentages have only risen and Mayor Lightfoot will have to find a different approach to stop the gun violence.

Sixty people were shot, eight fatally, in forty-six separate shooting incidents across Chicago between the evening of Friday, September 24, and the following Sunday, according to the Chicago Police Department. Gun violence in Chicago is headed towards its highest homicide and murder rate since the 1990s and Lightfoot, Pritzker, and the Chicago Police Department are working on stopping the percentages rise and take a step forward into ending gun violence.