Ten people were killed and at least 50 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend.
Public officials are left grappling with how to deal with the problem as violence also increases in the Loop.
Of the two police districts that make up downtown, Chicago police data reports 48 shootings so far this year in District 1, compared to 29 this time last year. That’s a 66% increase.
And in police District 18, data shows 43 shootings this year, compared to 27 in 2020 – a 59% increase.
The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported a 220% increase from 2019 in the total number of shootings and total shootings per 1,000 residents in the Central police district, which includes a large part of the downtown business district.
“It is accurate to say that shootings as well as homicides are up in that area, but it is still less than the total in a lot of other areas in Chicago,” said Andy Boyle, director of product engineering for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he's done data analysis on city violence. “We saw about one shooting victim for about every 4,000 residents in the downtown area, but in West Garfield Park, it was about one shooting victim for every 98 residents for the time period...there is a huge gap in terms of where the violence is in the city.”
Downtown crime accounts for less than 1% of Chicago shootings, Boyle noted.
Deborah Gershbein, president of Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, says the increase in the number of shootings happening downtown has been a growing concern for residents since the pandemic started.
“Streeterville used to be a very safe area,” Gershbein said. “Residents are very alarmed right now and feel like they could be a victim of a crime. They want to know what we can do to make it a safer environment for us.”
2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins, whose ward covers parts of downtown, says the Chicago Police Department needs to adjust their tactics to address the issue.
“We need a greater police presence on the sidewalks, on the streets of Michigan Avenue in particular and they need to use technology for a more effective means,” Hopkins said.