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Chicago Has Had More Than 12,000 Shootings Since 2010 (MAP)

By Tanveer Ali | July 7, 2015 5:52am

CHICAGO LAWN — When Marshall Hawkins walks around his neighborhood, he carefully picks a route based on the places where people haven't been shot.

"If there are flowers on the block, you can go there," the 38-year-old said. "If there's been police tape or gunshots, you avoid it."

Such is life for the former North Sider in his adopted Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Same for his kids, a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old.

"On days that I can't pick them up and drive them to school, I give specific directions. 'Don't take this street. Go this way. Not that way,' " Hawkins said.

One danger spot: 64th and Troy, the site of two fatal shootings since November. In a city pockmarked with gun violence, that corner stands out. But it's not alone.

Since New Year's Day 2010, there have been more than 12,000 shootings in Chicago. More than 14,000 people were hit in those shootings, including more than 2,000 who died.

DNAinfo Chicago plotted all the city's shootings and homicides on an interactive map below. Search by date, date range, neighborhood and more to see the hot spots, the clusters and the overall danger zones.

The data analyzed by DNAinfo was compiled through a combination of Freedom of Information Act requests to the Chicago Police Department and DNAinfo's own record keeping.

The total number of shootings refers to incidents in which someone was wounded by gunfire during a criminal act between Jan. 1, 2010, and July 6, 2015. It equates to about six shooting incidents per day.

Tanveer Ali discusses what surprised him while gathering the data:

Of the city's homicides, about 87 percent are caused by gun violence. Only about 70 percent of homicides nationwide are caused by guns, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Chicago, shooting numbers are reviewed three times a week at the highest levels of the Police Department, including police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Chief Robert Tracy, who oversees crime strategy in Chicago. Those two, as well as other members of the command staff, get live updates of shootings on their smartphones.

"We look at every shooting in the city," Tracy said.

For the decade so far, shootings peaked in 2012 when 2,499 shootings resulted in 2,990 people being wounded.

SEE: DNAinfo Chicago's Murder Timeline: The Human Toll

The next year saw a nearly 25 percent drop in shootings. The 1,920 shootings in 2013 were the lowest this decade.

Through the first six months of this year, shootings are up 20 percent compared to last year.

"We use it as a measuring stick of how we are improving," said freshman Ald. David Moore (17th), who represents parts of Chicago Lawn, West Englewood and Englewood.

Three of Chicago's 77 official community areas — Edison Park, Forest Glen and Mount Greenwood — haven't had an incident classified as a shooting all decade. (In December, there was a shooting in which police say an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant fatally shot a man who was pointing a gun at a Mount Greenwood bar, but that has not been classified as a shooting. The Independent Police Review Authority hasn't released the results of its investigation yet.)

On the other extreme is Austin, the city's most populous community area, and nearly every year, the one with the most shootings. Except for 2011 when West Englewood led the city, that West Side neighborhood has led the city every year in shootings since 2010, hitting a low of 145 in 2013.

Seven community areas — Austin, West Englewood, Englewood, Humboldt Park, Greater Grand Crossing, South Shore and Chicago Lawn — are the scene of about 35 percent of Chicago's shootings.

Of those seven areas, the numbers have been most volatile in Marshall Hawkins' Chicago Lawn, a Southwest Side neighborhood that includes Marquette Park. It's an area where about half the residents are African-American and the other half are Hispanic.

While Chicago Lawn doesn't lead the city in total shootings, the rise of shootings is noticeable to police and residents alike.

"The [shooting] numbers matter, of course," said Francisco Lorzornio, a social worker with the Southwest Organizing Project, a community organization. "People hear it. They see it. It's trauma. It gets dark."

The community area ranks seventh in total shootings since 2010: 555 people have been shot in 470 incidents. Of those people, 75 died.

Chicago Lawn residents view the scene of a fatal 2013 shooting near West 66th Street and South Claremont Avenue.  [DNAinfo files]

As with citywide shootings, some years are calmer than others in Chicago Lawn. In 2012, there were 110 shootings, about one every 80 hours. That year, 133 people were shot, 17 who were killed.

Last year, there were 56 shootings in the area resulting in 63 people getting shot (16, or nearly a quarter, were killed).

The numbers are going back up this year, with 45 shootings through the Fourth of July weekend, almost certain to exceed the number of shootings from last year. Everyone from police to residents has noticed the increase.

"It has gone up in that area. We have recognized it, and we are working on strategies to address it," Tracy said.

In May, the Chicago Lawn police district held its first-ever gang call-in, bringing in members of various factions for a dose of tough love.

"We tell them, if they don't heed our warnings, we will come after them," Tracy said.

Marshall Hawkins, 38, near 64th and Troy streets [DNAinfo/Tanveer Ali]

The police know even a single shooting will reverberate in the neighborhoods.

"When you take a look at some of these communities, a reduction from 10 shootings a year to five is real," Tracy said. "But the fact is there are still five shootings happening."

For residents, each shooting says something about an individual block. But elected officials like Moore point out that shootings mean something about the city as a whole, too.

"When people on the outside hear about these shootings, they don't say Chicago Lawn. They don't say Englewood," Moore said. "They say Chicago."

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