Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy attributed the spike in killings last year to guns on the street and gang violence. The police have tied more than 40 percent of 2012 homicides to street gang violence, according to RedEye’s 2012 Homicide Tracker.
A 22-year-old who was affiliated with gang activity was shot and killed while sitting in his vehicle in North Lawndale on Jan. 13, authorities said.
The medical examiner’s office identified the man as Damian Barnes, who Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada said had previous gang affiliations and was in the local gang Black Disciples.
Chicago logged 513 homicides in 2012, up from 448 killings in 2011, according to RedEye’s data.
Chicago’s murder rate of 15.65 per 100,000 people appears nothing like the American 4.2 rate.
Arthur Bilek, Executive vice president of the Chicago Crime Commission, believes there is a direct link to Chicago’s homicides with gangs, drugs and violence.
“Some of these gangs are run by kids who are as young as 14 or 15 years old,” Bilek said. “They are much more willing to go out and commit acts of violence because their [gang is] small and they want to grow; so they do whatever they think is best. That generally means talking with their guns.”
There are an estimated 70 to 100 gangs in the Chicago metropolitan area with approximately 100,000 members, according to the Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book.
Barnes’ previous arrest in September 2012 included a verbal confession to being a member of the Black Disciples, one of the largest gangs in Chicago, authorities say.
The evening that Barnes was killed, his car was parked in the 1300 of S. Harding Ave., which is Vice Lord territory in North Lawndale, according to Chicago Police Department data.
There has been a long-running conflict between the Vice Lords and the Black Disciples, which could explain Barnes’ death police say.
Ladd Everitt, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s communications director, believes instead of firing semi-automatics, gang members should use their words or fists to resolve issues.
“In a major city like Chicago, gang violence is a far more reaching problem,” Everitt said. “I think gang violence is an epidemic that affects all Americans, but obviously in a city like Chicago, gang violence is one they’ll have to take on.”
- Gang Prevention: Stop The Violence (benford21.wordpress.com)
- Are gangs a bigger threat than guns in Chicago? (thegrio.com)
- Sweep Time (secondcitycop.blogspot.com)
- Mexican Drug Lord Named Chicago’s ‘Public Enemy Number One’ (chicago.cbslocal.com)
- Where is the Outrage? (blackamericauncensored.wordpress.com)