From the NYT:
Chicago’s Murder Problem
By FORD FESSENDEN and HAEYOUN PARK MAY 27, 2016
There was a time when it looked as if Chicago would follow New York and Los Angeles into a kind of sustained peace. Then progress stalled in 2004, and the city has been through some harrowing years leading up to another alarming spike in homicides this year.
Already embroiled in a crisis over race and police conduct, Chicago now faces a 62 percent increase in homicides. Through mid-May, 216 people have been killed. Shootings also are up 60 percent.
A big factor is that the nice white liberal Democrats of New York defeated five consecutive Democratic candidates for Mayor from 1993 through 2009, instead electing crime-fighters Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. You can see Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk program in the graph below of “Change in Weapons Cases Since 2001.” While there is a lot that the Democratic politicians of Chicago can get away with, what with being Democrats and all, they can’t get away with that.
Guns Are a Key Difference
People who know both cities say there are some significant differences in policing, especially around the issue of guns.
The homicide rate in Chicago is just a little higher than in New York when guns aren’t involved. But when it comes to shootings, both fatal and not, Chicago stands out, suggesting a level of armed interaction that isn’t happening in New York.
Chicago has a reputation for strict gun laws, and gun rights advocates often point to it as proof that gun regulation doesn’t reduce violence….
And Chicago is more lenient about illegal handguns than New York, prescribing a one-year minimum for possession versus three and a half years in New York. An attempt to match the New York law in 2013 was rejected by the Illinois legislature out of concern for skyrocketing incarceration rates for young black men.
New York also hired a lot more police officers in response to the crime of the 1990s, and, during its stop-and-frisk era of the 2000s, steeply increased gun enforcement.
Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk is effective gun control: the cops stop young black and Latino men because they don’t like the looks of them, pat them down, and if they are carrying a gun for which they don’t have a permit, off to prison they go. Of course, it’s also a massive violation of civil rights and it’s hard to imagine any less privileged city than New York (or possibly Washington DC) getting away with it for so many years. But more important white people live in NYC than wherever you happen to live, you loser, so the anti-discrimination rules don’t apply to the NYPD to the same extent as they do to your police department.
Chicago’s Police Department, overwhelmed, can respond only to the most serious problems, leaving citizens to feel responsible for their own security, he said.
“Everyone has to establish deterrence on a retail basis,” he said. “People carry guns in public because other people are carrying guns. It’s literally an arms race, a vicious cycle. There are lots of indications that New York City, by taking guns more seriously and hiring more officers, has gotten a lot of guns off the streets, creating a virtuous cycle.”
Another aspect is that stop-and-frisk drives young minority males out of town, first to prison then to less privileged cities where the cops can’t trample on civil rights to the extent they could for 12 years in New York City.
In Chicago, gang disputes are clearly a big part of homicides, said John Hagedorn, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who studies Chicago gangs. “But these are not the same kind of disputes as before – they’re more localized disputes.”
Many of Chicago’s gangs have fractured, leading to more violence, said Arthur Lurigio, a criminology professor at Loyola University Chicago. While Latino gangs have remained more hierarchical, black gangs have splintered into small, disparate factions, whose disputes are less over territory and profits, and more over personal insults or shames, often fueled by social media, he said.
… In addition to making threats, individuals at times post their location on social media to prove to rivals that they’re tough, he said.
In one well-known instance, Gakirah Barnes, a Chicago gang member who was rumored to have killed or shot up to 20 rival gang members, referenced an address she frequented on Twitter.
Gakirah was a teenage girl.
In the tweet, provided by Dr. Patton, Ms. Barnes says “Lz,” which has multiple meanings in Chicago gang cultures, including living life, at address number 6347. Later that day, she was shot and killed near the address.
… “The shootings today are more spontaneous over day-to-day humiliations of youthful African-Americans,” he said.
In other words, legalizing drugs wouldn’t do much to stop Chicago blacks from shooting each other so much. They’ve largely been squeezed out of serious drug businesses, such as by the Mexican cartels, so they’re just shooting each other over low-level knuckleheadedness.
Of course, nobody wants to live around people like Gakirah Barnes who can afford not to. So, the places where the Garkirah Barneses live are “segregated,” which gives the NYT something to blame the proliferation of Gakirah Barneses upon besides Garkirah Barnes and her parents, cousins, and friends. It’s the fault of “segregation:”
Crime Persists in Chicago’s Most Segregated Neighborhoods
Whether exacerbated by gangs or guns, though, Chicago’s killings are happening on familiar turf: Its poor, extremely segregated neighborhoods on the South and West Sides. And many say that is Chicago’s real violence issue.
“Where do gangs come from? They tend to take root in the very same neighborhoods that drive these other problems,” said Robert J. Sampson, a professor at Harvard and the author of “Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect.” “You can’t divorce the gang problem from the problem of deep concentrations of poverty.”
“What predicts violent crime rates is concentrated poverty and neighborhood disadvantage, and what determines concentrated poverty is high levels of black segregation combined with high levels of black poverty,” said Douglas S. Massey, a sociology professor at Princeton University.
In Chicago, homicide rates correspond with segregation. While many areas have few or no killings, the South and West Sides are on par with the world’s most dangerous countries, like Brazil and Venezuela, and have been for many years.
Well, the Austin neighborhood on the West Side (next door to still nearly crime-free Oak Park, IL) was segregated up until Martin Luther King came to Chicago and demanded open housing. Oddly, enough, Austin was basically crime free when it was all white. (So “segregation” is a euphemism for a neighborhood being filled with the dregs of the black race so that nobody else except blacks will live next to them. In contrast, there are completely black neighborhoods in Chicago, like Avalon Park, that are pretty much 100% black but have much lower homicide rates because they are middle class blacks.)
My in-laws, being nice liberal public school teachers and classical musicians, joined a liberal organization devoted to making integration work by promising not to sell out. Three years later, their children had been subjected to three felonies and the value of their two flat had fallen in half. They sold out.
So I guess it’s all their fault that Austin is the way it is.
Anyway, I think there are a few things going on that aren’t being mentioned in the article. First, I don’t think the crack wars of the early 1990s were ever that bad in Chicago, so they didn’t purge Chicago to the same extent of its most violent thugs, as tended to happen in NYC and LA. Also, rent didn’t go up as much in Chicago as in the two larger cities, so the black population has only recently started to fall. Another thing that’s going in NYC that’s kind of subtle is that more middle class West Indian and African blacks are replacing downscale American blacks to a greater extent than in Chicago. Also, there’s some evidence that the number of American black males in NYC is way down due to imprisonment and moving out to avoid stop-and-frisk, but that’s kind of tough to tell because it could be just black men dropping off the grid.