Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Look At Daley's Chicago Under the Gun Ban

This is a story of some people trying to keep their neighborhood from being overrun by crime. Neighborhood watches. People taking action. And things not working out so well. Chicago News Cooperative - Block Club Carries on, but Fear and Frustration With City Persist -

But what interested me was view of how Daley's Chicago was doing under the gun ban (recently overturned, though the city is still fighting it).
In 2009, Chicago had 458 homicides. New York City, which is roughly three times as large, had 471, and Los Angeles, which is nearly one and one-half times bigger, had 313. Through July, there have been 274 homicides in Chicago, down from 281 in the same period in 2009. Aggravated batteries with a firearm — the most common classification for shootings — are also down slightly, but the city still averages nearly six a day.
This is the regime that Daley wants to continue. He spends money the city doesn't have fighting lawsuits that city cannot win instead of spending the money on more police. Or schools. Or doing anything that could bring business back to the city.

Of course, even in Chicago, people could be sure that crime happened in "other kinds of places."
Residents of middle-class neighborhoods like the one on South Winchester have long been considered insulated from the violence, but this summer some of the most highly publicized incidents have happened in traditionally quiet areas, making the latest warm-weather crime wave more unsettling.
It's one thing when crime happens somewhere else, but when the 'nicer' neighborhoods get affected, everyone notices.
The current surge in violence has made national news. Early last week, an 8-year-old girl was killed and her 7-year-old cousin was wounded when they were caught in the cross-fire of a gang shooting. Three off-duty Chicago police officers have been killed since May, two in the middle-class South Side neighborhoods where they lived.
Of course it isn't all doom and gloom. The block club got the city to fix some crumbling sidewalks, and the local alderman (alderwoman?) is promising brighter street lights soon, and trying to get a (neighborhood requested) security camera.

This is in some ways the story of a group of people figuring out that they can't rely on the system, but have to form a community of their own.

And one thing I found a bit surprising was this statement coming from a Democrat - the local alderman.
She said the block club had to do more to fight crime on its own.

“Everybody in the city feels they need more policing,” she said. “I just feel that sometimes you have to stand up yourself.”
If I'm not mistaken, she said people have to take a little personal responsibility and exercise a little person initiative to solve problems in their neighborhood.

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