BY MICHAEL LANSU
Chicago Police reported a 5 percent decrease in murders through the first six months of 2014 compared with the same period last year.
The 171 slaying were a 32 percent decrease from the unusually violent first half of 2012, and a more modest 8 percent decrease from the start of 2011, police said.
While citywide murder totals declined, the communities with the most killings in recent years continued to lead the city in slayings in the first half of 2014.
“We looked at these communities, and we’ve put additional resources into these communities,” said Robert Tracy, chief of crime control strategies for Chicago Police, who noted that the city also is providing social services to the areas in addition law enforcement.
Despite the continued high murder totals on the West Side, police said the 171 murders are the fewest in the first half six months of any year since 1963, police spokesman Marty Maloney said.
While murders continued to decline, police reported an 8 percent increase in shooting victims through the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2013. However, the 1,103 shooting victims this year were a 17 percent decrease from 2012 and a 3 percent decrease from 2011 during the same period.
“We are up against a historical year [in terms of decline] from last year … it’s how we are trending long term as far as where we are going in Chicago,” Tracy said.
Evelyn Diaz, commissioner of the city’s Department of Family and Support Services, said her employees are working “hand in hand” with the police department. She also noted the work of community anti-violence groups.
“There are so may different things contributing that we might never be able to see which is driving the results, and we are OK with that,” Diaz said. “We think the approach has to be everybody coming at it from different angles. … There is still work to do because there is still areas where we need to see more gains.”
Ronald Sawyer was standing in the 300 block of West 114th Street, less than a mile from his Roseland home, when he was shot multiple times about 1:15 p.m. Jan. 30, authorities said. He was the first murder victim of 2014.
Sawyer, 30, didn’t have children of his own, but had a “heart of gold” toward the neighborhood kids, his aunt Delores Smith said. He enjoyed soap operas and working on cars.
“I won’t say it tore our family apart because I don’t want to give the person who did this any credit,” Smith said. “It only united us closer.”
No one has been charged in Sawyer’s death.
Cindy Bahena, 21, was a passenger in a vehicle that a known gang member was driving through Logan Square in the early hours of April 27. When the car passed a group in the 3500 block of West Fullerton, somebody on the sidewalk yelled gang slogans and opened fire, police said.
One of the bullets struck Bahena, and when she died less than 15 minutes later at a local hospital she became the 100th homicide victim of the year, authorities said. No charges have been filed in the case.
Ronald Holliman was standing outside with two men when a group got out of a nearby vehicle and opened fire from an alley about 5 p.m. on June 4.
As an 18-year-old man, Holliman was the same age as 11 other murder victims, the most common age of those killed so far this year. He was shot in the in the 4900 block of West End in the Austin community, making him a typical victim in both age and location. No charges have been filed.
Charles D. Short was talking with a 32-year-old man in the 4200 block of South Princeton Avenue when a gunman opened fire and shot him in the head about 6:30 p.m. May 30, authorities said.
Short, a 51-year-old pastor, was one of 20 homicide victims over the age of 50 so far this year.
Short, who lived nearby, was coming home from the grocery to cook dinner, said his mother, Kate Taylor. “He was a good person. You could ask him for anything,” she said.
No charges have been filed in Short’s shooting.
*Calculations for some figures include data from the city, police department and medical examiner’s office.
Carnesha Fort https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYg6NX7rwrM
Brandon Peterson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlskmTfp7wQ