Most non-white Chicago residents see a shooting by the time they turn 40, and many have themselves been shot, says a ‘disturbing’ 25-year study of violence in one of America’s gun crime hotspots.
Researchers found that firearm shootings are so common in the Illinois city of 2.7 million people that 56 percent of blacks and Hispanics are caught up in one before their 40th birthday.
A staggering 7 percent of them have taken a bullet themselves, said the 11-page University of Cambridge study, which was published in JAMA Network Open on Tuesday.
The study’s lead author, the criminologist Dr Charles Lanfear, said it was ‘startling and disturbing’ how black Chicagoans experienced gun violence far more often than whites.
More than half of Chicago’s blacks and Hispanics witness a shooting before they reach 40, compared to only a quarter of white residents
Chicago residents hug in the street after another weekend of gun violence in the Windy City, which saw off-duty police officer Areanah Preston shot and killed on Saturday after working a night shift
Only a quarter of whites see a shooting before they reach middle age.
‘We expected levels of exposure to gun violence to be high, but not this high,’ said Dr Lanfear.
‘Our findings are frankly startling and disturbing.’
Black residents have it worse than all other Chicagoans, he added.
They live in ‘a very different social context, with far higher risks of seeing and becoming victims of gun violence in the streets near their homes lasting into middle age,’ he said.
The research comes after another bloody weekend in Chicago, where off-duty police officer Areanah Preston, 24, was shot and killed steps from her mother’s doorstep on Saturday morning after finishing a night patrol, officers said.
In the first three months of 2023, Chicago’s murder rate of 4.2 per 100,000 residents made it one of America’s deadliest cities — worse than New York and Los Angeles, says a recent WalletHub study.
Young black men have long been more likely than others to die on streets and corners run by Chicago’s drug gangs.
But a spike in homicides from COVID-19 and race protests after the murder of George Floyd renewed focus on the issue.
Chicago’s mayor-elect Brandon Johnson has vowed to be ‘smart’ and ‘tough’ in fighting crime in the nation’s third-largest city once he’s sworn in on May 15, replacing incumbent Lori Lightfoot.
On her way out, Lightfoot said Democrat mayors need to ‘speak the truth’ about violent crime in America’s cities.
Officers work the scene where a fellow cop was shot and killed along with a suspect who was seriously wounded in the Gage Park neighborhood of Chicago in March
Chicago has for decades had a problem with gun killings, but rates started picking up again during the pandemic
Areanah Preston, 24, was killed on her front lawn as she was returning home from work in Avalon Park, Chicago
With rates of some crimes rising in Chicago, public safety became a top issue in the election she lost earlier this year.
For the study, Dr Lanfear’s team used data from 2,418 boys and girls born in the early 1980s through to the mid-1990s, collected by Harvard University’s Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods.
It found that half the city’s men and women residents had seen a shooting by the age of 40.
The average age to see your first shooting in the Windy City is 14.
White residents are more likely to see this outside of their own neighborhoods.
But for Hispanics, and in particular blacks, deadly violence is closer to home, often taking place on their doorstep.
The researchers said the ever-present threat of gun violence takes a ‘cumulative physiological toll’ on its residents, who suffer from worse health and job prospects compared to other Americans.
‘The long-term stress of exposure to firearm violence can contribute to everything from lower test scores for schoolkids to diminished life expectancy through heart disease,’ said Dr Lanfear.
Chicago, like many other major cities, has struggled to tackle the root causes of gun violence: poverty, unemployment, racism, and the large number of boys being raised in broken homes.
Conservatives focus on supporting the police and maintaining law and order.
Liberals in the Democratic stronghold call for a more comprehensive answers involving education, mental health and even reparations for black residents.
In the first three months of 2023, Chicago’s murder rate of 4.2 per 100,000 residents made it one of America’s deadliest cities — worse than in New York and Los Angeles, according to a WalletHub study
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk