Over the past year, shooting incidents involving minors age 16 and younger have decreased 40 percent from the rate of gun-related violence in 2012.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Evelyn Diaz announced the sharp decrease on this week, just days before Wenesday’s one-year anniversary of the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, whose case brought President Barack Obama to Hyde Park to address the dangers of being young in Chicago. Pendleton had performed at Obama’s second inauguration, and the sting of her slaying remains a reminder of an ever-present problem.
With nearly half of all violent crimes in Chicago involving school-age youth, the city for many years has drawn criticism for having a gun violence epidemic.
But over time, the number of reported incidents has steadily decreased. For example, Chicago saw a sharp drop in homicides from 503 cases to 415 in 2012.
Emanuel lauded prevention programs and new policing strategy efforts that include zoning in on “impact zones” in high-crime areas as one of the driving forces behind the significant drop in youth crime.
There was a 35 percent decrease in gun-related incident numbers from 2012 to 2011. Additionally, shooting incidents involving Chicago Public Schools nearly halved compared to the numbers reported in August through January 21 of 2012.
With the Senate approving more than $18 million to target “gangs of national significance,” U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (D-IL) is looking to apply a chunk of that fund towards fighting gangs in Chicago. Exactly how the money will be spent or targeted was not clear.