The Devil Out Here

Polly Sykes, the mother of 15-year-old Demetrius Griffin Jr., whose body was found burned in a trash can on the West Side of Chicago in September 2016, spoke to her friends and family at a vigil held in his honor: “The devil is out here, and he’s busy.”

By the end of 2017, the year was on pace to be another record for gun violence in Chicago with 3566 shooting victims and 674 homicides. In 2016 there were 4369 shooting victims and 795 homicides. (These homicide statistics include non-gun related deaths, though the vast majority involve firearms.)

Much of the rise in violence can be linked to gang conflict over territory and drug dealing as well as easy access to illegal guns. There are deeper societal problems, though, including long histories of poverty, racism, a neglect by the city in some of the more crime-ridden neighborhoods, and a distrust of police.

Complex causes of Chicago’s spiking violence

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