Despite a decline in gun violence, Chicago remains a national symbol of urban violence.
While city officials have been lauding the decline in Chicago’s gun violence, the nation’s third-largest city continues to be rocked by shootings, with at least seven people being wounded in a 24-hour period that ended Friday.
The wounded included a 15-year-old boy who was shot while on Chicago’s South Side. He was shot in the ankle and by someone in an automobile and was reported to be in stable condition.
Another teenager, a 17-year-old girl who was standing with a 24-year-old man outside of a home, was also wounded on the South Side. The girl was shot in the chest and back and was reported to be in fair condition, police said. The man was shot in the chest and grazed in the arm and was listed in fair condition.
Despite the number of recent episodes of gun violence, Chicago officials have noted that the overall crime rate has declined in the city in the early months of 2013 compared with the same period in the previous year. In fact, the Chicago Police Department announced that crime in the city fell 8 percent in the first quarter of 2013, compared with the same period last year, and 15 percent from the same period of 2011.
Yet, the level of gun violence remains staggeringly high in Chicago and has become a national focal point of urban violence.
Chicago’s murder rate is widely considered to be fueled by the drug wars that are fought between the city’s network of gangs. The homicide rate has been largely confined to the city’s south and west areas, African-American bastions of Chicago.
And in 2012, the number of murders climbed, with homicides increasing by 16 percent over the previous year.
The level of gun violence gained national attention with the death of Hadiya Pendleton, an honors high school student who was shot in a South Side playground early this year while walking from school in an afternoon rain storm. She was killed by a gang member in what police called a case of mistaken identity just a week after performing with her school band for President Obama’s inaugural events.
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(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)