Over the coming months on this blog, I hope to keep updated on the continuous gun violence affecting the city of Chicago that has unfortunately been growing over the past several years. I come from a suburb of the city and, therefore, am mostly unaffected by the problem myself. But I know people who have been, and the violence has captured the attention of media far outside of the Chicagoland area and made it into a reference point for big city violence. Looking at statistics, last year was the most shockingly deadly for Chicago since the 1990s, and while I hope 2017 brings different news for the city I think it’s safe to say that the gun violence will likely continue at a high pace.
Looking at those statistics is upsetting, but it’s also important to note that there are stories and real people behind each number that periodically pops up on the news, and I think it will be important and helpful to recognize and follow that angle of the issue as well. The city’s main newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, reports on crime and murder in the city and follows up on many cases that add background to the city’s sad numbers, and the Chicago Sun-Times is a good secondary source for some of that as well. Homicide Watch Chicago focuses on those stories behind the statistics, tracking each death and the potential criminal cases that may follow. I worked for two semesters with Homicide Watch Boston through Northeastern journalism classes, and I think that organization’s personal look at violent crime is important to consider, especially when publications like the Tribune or Sun-Times can’t or don’t follow up on murder in as focused a way as Homicide Watch can. And DNAinfo can also help provide insight into the neighborhoods most affected by these crimes, and the general mood of the city throughout the year. Those resources will help to stay updated on events and stories connected to deadly shootings, while more statistical sites such as HeyJackass! or the Tribune’s crime page can keep up with the numbers and put 2017 in perspective with the city’s past and maybe even show a brighter outlook for the coming year.