Chicago Gun Violence Continues To Surge, Residents Seek Togetherness In Times Of Fear

The city of Chicago has seen record numbers of homicides over a short stretch of time throughout the summer months. By the end of Labor Day weekend, the city was near to matching the homicide total for all of 2015. On average, three people were killed each day in August, marking the spike of the bloody time frame of 2016.

The Washington Post noted details and statistics about this unprecedented stretch of violence.

"Police said there were 479 homicides in Chicago so far this year, mostly people killed by gunfire. In August alone, there were 92 victims of homicide, the city's deadliest month in more than two decades and more killings than most big cities across the country recorded in the first six months of the year."
For families attempting to maintain some sense of normalcy and carry on in their lives, fear has become more normal in their day-to-day. Kris Pinder shares with the publication about seeing his children playing in the park in Roseland, an area on the South Side of Chicago, and trying his best to ensure that they are still allowed to be kids even with all of the chaos that surrounds them.
"The children need to see that everything is not all bad."
The bloodshed and violence within the metropolis has certainly filled millions with fear and worry. A survey that was taken earlier in the year indicated that residents are just as sure that young people could be victims of violence as could graduate-aged adults.This past weekend, organizations such as book clubs and churches set up pop-up events around the areas of the city that were most affected by the violence. The neighborhoods that saw the most bloodshed are in the south and west of the city. The violence, although resulting in a heightened level of fear, has also seemingly brought people together. The surge in violence has encouraged residents to organize more cookouts, gospel concerts, stage plays, and block parties.Kaaron Johnson, 28, spoke about what motivated residents to come together and to begin organizing social events in the face of such violence when many would normally be tempted to run.
"When the amount of violence skyrocketed this summer, people realized if we don't do something, it'll get out of hand."
The bloodshed, however, continued through the holiday weekend with at least four more individuals dying by way of gun violence, and an additional two dozen suffering gunshot wounds. This has put this year's homicide count almost equal to the 481 killings during the entire year of 2015.

The city is on route to seeing over 600 homicides in 2016. The last time the city saw such violence was in 2003, and Chicago has seen more killings so far in 2016 than the two largest cities in the United States, New York and Los Angeles, combined.

Police officials connect the surge in violence within the city of Chicago to those known as repeat offenders who use illegal guns. Police superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke with the publication on the history of violence spurred by these repeat offenders.

"The historical cycle of violence we have seen in some communities must come to an end. Repeat gun offenders who drive the violence on our streets should not be there in the first place and it is time to change the laws to ensure these violent offenders are held accountable for their crimes."
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]