Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Chicago’s homicide rate down for another year, but is anyone swayed?

For the second straight year, it appears Chicago’s tally of homicide will decline, and certainly isn’t anywhere near how high it reached back in the days of some three decades ago.

Workload not as violent, but it doesn't feel easier
Yet let’s be honest; I have no doubt that the instant another incident occurs that we’ll get another diatribe from Donald Trump and his ilk about just how god-awfully violent the Second City is.

AS THOUGH THE key to our improvement is to replace our elected officials with people inclined to sympathize with this Age of Trump we now live in. Allowing ourselves to be perceived as “blue” and the reason why Illinois is so intensely hostile toward Republican interests is the real reason for the diatribes.

For I doubt the people who make such absurd statements really care about the conditions in Chicago. It’s just another partisan piece of rhetoric they can use against the political opposition.

I doubt they care in the least about the people who actually have to suffer in the parts of Chicago that provide the bulk of the incidents that comprise most of the city’s homicide rate. If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the ideologues who most complain about the city’s statistics related to violence think the people who are the brunt of the incidents are to blame for their own circumstances.

That’s the reason why I have such hostile reactions toward anybody who tries to make an issue of the homicide total – which in coming days is going to get another update.

FOR WE’RE IN a New Year. As of Friday (Dec. 28), there had been 570 people killed by the deliberate actions of another human being (which is the very definition of ‘homicide’). When one adds in the weekend running through incidents as late as midnight Monday, that’s bound to increase a bit.

But it would take a total bloodbath for the death tally for Chicago to exceed the 675 of 2017, which itself was lower than 2016 – which is starting to appear more and more like some sort of statistical fluke.

Rather than a return to the days of the late 1980s into the early 1990s, when it was typical for there to be between 900 and 1,000 homicides per year – which means the recent spurt isn’t even close to what this city used to experience.
Not all explosions are celebratory fireworks
I’ll be honest and admit that era sticks in my mind particularly harshly; largely because that’s back in the day when I worked for the now-defunct City News Bureau of Chicago and the daily activity of the Chicago Police was on the forefront of my mind.

BUT EVEN THEN, the bulk of violent crime in Chicago was contained to certain neighborhoods. There were parts of Chicago where a single violent death would be considered a major headline, while other parts of Chicago would have so many incidents that most of them were never covered beyond anybody but a “City News” kid reporter.

The sad part of this story is that, according to a Chicago Tribune report on Monday, it appears the leading police districts for violent crime will be Harrison on the West Side and Englewood on the South.

Which, to be honest, were the leaders for violent crime back in my own police reporting days.

It’s as though nothing has changed, and certain parts of Chicago continue to get the brunt of everything that is wrong with the city – while other parts manage to benefit from the city’s improvements of recent decades.

WHICH IS WHAT I’m sure the ideologues will complain is some form of hypocrisy on the part of Chicagoans – talking up our strengths while ignoring those of us who don’t fall into certain demographics.

TRUMP: Numbers won't matter, he'll complain!
Yet I’d also note that the ideologues are more than willing to see certain peoples amongst us (most often, the ones of us whose complexion doesn’t resemble their own in the least) continue to suffer from violence and the other societal problems that are brought about by such attitudes.

As in they’re merely interested in using a high homicide tally to tag the rest of us with a dirty brush. And as for the people who will suffer, I can’t help but think of those who (invariably) will perish in the early hours of Tuesday – starting off a new year with the same ol’ nonsense,

You just know someone will be hit by stray shrapnel from a nitwit who thinks the way to kick of 2019 is to fire off a weapon into the air; hitting an unintended target several blocks away.


No comments: