Essay on Gang Violence in Chicago

Published: 2021-07-02 18:49:08
612 words
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Wesleyan University
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Chicago is viewed as one of the areas that are influenced by gangs. Children as young as ten years old join them as a way of identifying themselves with the others. The gangs began in the 60s whereby several cases of murder and violence were reported emanating from the gangs. According to a report by Saul Josh in Newsweek, the year 2016 is viewed as the bloodiest year in Chicago in regards to the gangs. The writer includes the story of James, an employee of Jimmy Johns who after finishing his shift one evening, he heard four gun shots and then discovered that his back was bleeding and one of the shots pierced his arm. Forty minutes later, he heard that a friend of his, Yvonne Nelson, died from gunshot wounds as result of being connected to James. He later heard that his assassin was a fifteen-year-old from a gang that identified itself as Murder Town. James had once belonged to a gang known as the Gangster Disciples and hence explaining why he was a target of another gang.

The writer states, The pace of the killings accelerated, and by the end of November, the city had more than 700 murders for the first time since 1998; thats more murders than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. The common term being used in the city to describe the killings is Chiraq coined from the terms Chicago and Iraq. It is perceived that most of the young people kill others because of the beef present in social media while the older men shoot the youth accidentally or with intent. The police in Chicago explain that about 90% of violence associated with guns emanates from gangs. Nelsons death is perceived to change the nature of the gang organizations in the state.

The gangs such as the Black Disciples and the Gangster Disciples initially engaged in business-like operations. However, the violent prosecutions caused a division among the gangs.

The history of gangs in Chicago can be dated back to a hundred and forty four-years ago, but gang violence became quite common in the 60s especially with the growth of the entertainment industry. In 1992, there was a significant decline in the murder and violence rates. The factors associated with the decline include the declaration of war in the leadership of gangs and the compulsory sentences of about six months of the members. It was perceived that issues regarding gangs would decline and that Chicago would turn into a peaceful state. However, the rates of homicides emanating from gangs have increased despite the strict rules on gun control. Gang violence is still at its peak in the region.

Reports indicate that poverty and disadvantaged neighborhoods are the main reasons that influence people to join the gangs. Others join the gangs for revenge while others join the gangs for security purposes. Another reason is on segregation whereby it is perceived that the majority of the population in Chicago are the African Americans. According to a report in the New York Times by, Racially segregated minority neighborhoods have a long history of multiple adversities, such as poverty, joblessness, environmental toxins and inadequate housing, Professor Sampson said. In these places, people tend to be more cynical about the law and distrust police, heightening the risk that conflictual encounters will erupt in violence.


Fessenden, Ford, and Haeyoun Park. 2016. "Chicagos Murder Problem". The New York Times.

Rarr, View. 2017. "Here Is a Look at Chicagos History of Gun Violence | Extrano's Alley". Extranosalley.Com.

Saul, Josh. 2016. "Why 2016 Has Been Chicago's Bloodiest Year In Almost Two Decades". Newsweek.

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