Chicago’s school year ends on Wednesday as crime rate skyrockets

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Over 341,000 students attend 649 Chicago Public Schools. Almost 113,000 of them are high school students (grades 9-12). They all get of school for the summer on Wednesday.

With a population of nearly 9 million people, sweltering heat waves, and an already rising crime rate, the end of Chicago’s school year and start of summer is a recipe for disaster. All those juveniles with nothing to do but get into trouble.

DEADLY WEEKENDS CONTINUE

Chicago just saw another deadly weekend as shots rang out all over the city. Forty-six people were shot, nine of them fatally. Seven of the shooting victims were young people at a party, not far from the home of newly elected-mayor Brandon Johnson.

Last weekend, the 3-day Memorial Day weekend, saw 53 shootings with 11 fatalities. But this recent weekend had a higher percentage of shootings, since it was just a 2-day weekend.

As it is with most shooting reports, no one is in custody and no arrests have been made.

Monday, just hours after the last shooting of the weekend, Mayor Johnson attended the Chicago Police Department’s recruit graduation ceremony. This summer will be challenging for his new recruits. Interim CPD Superintendent Fred Waller, in Monday’s press conference, admitted the summer ahead will require a fast learning curve for Chicago’s newest police officers.

SOBERING VIOLENT CRIME STATS

University of Chicago’s Crime Lab found that violent crime in Chicago peaks in the hot summer months. Twice as many shootings are reported on days over 85 degrees than on days under 50 degrees. The first day Chicago temperatures are predicted to be over 85 degrees is Saturday, June 17. Father’s Day weekend.

To be fair, Chicago’s violent crimes aren’t city wide. It’s worse in some neighborhoods, especially on the West Side. Data from the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab shows there are fewer health care facilities, banks, and grocery stores on the West Side than in other parts of the city.

For example, the per-capita murder rate in Chicago PD’s 15th District in Austin on the West Side shot up 274 percent between 2010 and 2020 to 115.2 per 100,000 residents. Garfield Park’s 11th District, also on the West Side, saw a similar increase. Their per-capita murder rate reached 146.8 per 100,000, according to data from the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab.

DON’T COMPLAIN WITHOUT OFFERING SOLUTIONS

What does this mean for the 341,000 children getting out of school tomorrow? Many Chicago organizations offer summer programs and volunteer opportunities for kids. The internet is a great place to search for options. Mostly, stay off the streets at night. Don’t do drugs. Stay away from guns and people with guns. Simplistic suggestions for complicated problems.

For those who have already graduated, maybe their best hope are organizations working to reduce violence and increase opportunities in Chicago. And there are plenty. Consider Breakthrough, a Garfield Park nonprofit whose services include violence-interruption programming as part of a coalition called Communities Partnering 4 Peace, or CP4P. Chicago CRED (Creating Real Economic Destiny) and READI Chicago (Rapid Employment and Development Initiative) seek to find jobs for the underserved.

Chicago police, still recovering from the “de-fund the police” movement, can’t do it alone. “No cash bail” just puts criminals right back on the street. Our government has certainly not offered any help at all. The problem is in Chicago, so it’s the people in Chicago – along with the police, city government officials, and local organizations – who have to find a solution.



Image from: baltimoresun.com


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