The news: That "Chiraq" moniker is going to stick around for a while longer. After a particularly deadly April, Chicago is keeping up its disturbing streak of gun violence: At least three people died and 26 were wounded in the first weekend of May alone, followed by several shootings in the city on Monday and Tuesday as well.
Twenty-nine people shot might not sound like much in a city of 2.7 million, but considering that gun violence roughly kills 32 people and wounds 140 everyday across all of America, that's a startling statistic, and one that's barely been reported by most mainstream media outlets.
Chicago's gun violence is turning into a regular event each weekend. But just because this seems like a familiar story doesn't mean it's any less worthy of media attention.
What is going on? Chicago's problem with gang violence is nothing new, but there's been a worrying spike in the past several months. According to the Chicago Tribune, there have already been close to 600 shootings since the beginning of 2014 alone. That's a slightly better figure than the 2,185 shootings that took place in Chicago last year, but if you look at the month-to-month analysis, April was particularly brutal.
Image Credit: The Chicago Tribune
And though the "Chiraq" nickname may seem insensitive, it does hold some truth. As VICE points out in this unsettling graphic, more people have been killed in Chicago between 2003 and 2011 than America's total troop casualty during the entirety of the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.
Image Credit: VICE
What is being done? Decreasing gun violence has been the main focus of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration, which has been funneling tens of millions of taxpayer money into putting more boots on the ground around the city. Mayor Emanuel has also focused on stricter gun legislation and doling out heavier punishments for illegal gun possession.
But considering Chicago's growing propensity (and reputation) for gun violence, it seems that it might be time for Emanuel and his administration to reconsider their strategy. Analysts have pointed out that the imprisonment of the city's top gang leaders has actually created a power vacuum, turning into violent turf powers between competing rivals. It's going to take a lot more than just heavier prison sentences and increased police forces to stem the problem at its source.