Murder in #Chiraq

What's behind the growing homicide rate in Chicago?


  1. Below is an interactive map of shootings in 2012 by the Chicago Sun-Times. Last year, homicides in the city increased by 16 per cent from 2011. 
  2. Cure Violence is an organisation dedicated to interrupting violent crime in Chicago's most at-risk communities. The group utilises locals and ex-gang members familiar with neighbourhood dynamics to intervene before confrontations happen. 

    Cure Violence's has received $1 million from the city of Chicago to continue its community-based policing efforts. 
  3. From CeaseFire to Cure Violence: A Message from Gary Slutkin
  4. Cure Violence and their team of violence interrupters were at the centre of the critically acclaimed documentary, The Interrupters

    This video contains strong language.
  5. The Interrupters - Flamo's Doorstep
  6. Although Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy often attribute the high murder rate to gangs, many believe that Chicago's history of segregation is the major obstacle to reversing trends in violent crime. 

    The chart below by the Chicago Reader highlights racial demographics and homicide rates in the city's poorest and richest neighbourhoods.
  7. The website Rich Blocks Poor Blocks shows in more detail economic segregation of the city with wealthier communities represented in green and poorer ones in red. 
  8. Despite a decline in segregation nationwide, Chicago remains among the most segregated cities in the nation. As the maps below illustrate, segregation in Chicago has remained relatively stagnant in the past few decades. 
  9. Below, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy speaks on a panel discussing strategies to reduce crime and violence. 
  10. Highlights: Law Enforcement Strategies for Reducing Crime and Violence
  11. Studies have shown that after-school programmes can significantly improve a student's likelihood of avoiding gun violence. Below are videos highlighting two such programmes in the city. 
  12. Youth Guidance BAM Program - 6 minute version
  13. Chicago natives are raising awareness of the unrest in their city through artistic expression. Below is a video titled "Chi-raq" by spoken word artist M'Reld Green

    This video contains strong language.
  14. Although some have criticised the city's hip-hop scene for promoting a culture of violence, others credit local rappers like Chief Keef for bringing attention to Chicago's problems.
  15. "Keef has done more to publicize the fact that Chicago has a crime problem than the crime problem has publicized Keef," says hip-hop journalist David Drake.
  16. Chief Keef (whose real name is Keith Cozart) became the centre of attention when he was suspected of involvement in the murder of fellow Chicago rapper Lil Jojo. Insensitive tweets from Cozart's Twitter account seemed to mock the young man's death. 

    Chief Keef later expressed his sympathies to the family and claimed his Twitter account was hacked.
  17. Popular Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco expressed his grief over the violence in Chicago in the video clip below (segment begins at 3:25):