Around Rogers Park: Gun Violence Increases in 2020


Since the beginning of the year, and especially since the start of the pandemic, Chicago has experiencied a significant increase in gun violence and homicides. According to an article in the New York Times, Chicago has had 336 murders through July 2 compared to 492 murders in all of 2019.

Rogers Park has not been exempt from this trend. According to an article in Block Club Chicago, the neighborhood had four murders and 22 people shot through the first six months of 2020, compared to two murders and 13 shootings the previous year through the same date. These statistics are for the 24th police district which includes Rogers Park, West Ridge and some of Edgewater. The total number of murders in Rogers Park has increased by at least one since the Block Club article was published, after a shootout on Howard Street on July 23rd left one dead and another injured.

The causes of this increase in shootings and murders can be attributed to a number of factors, including the spike in unemployment in the wake of the pandemic and “shelter in place” orders. The tumult around the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the riots and upheaval that this event triggered in Chicago and all across the country are also partly to blame.

But the root causes remain the same. Chicago is a city of haves and have nots, and the legacy of segregation and unequal opportunity continues to take its toll on the city and its people. Rogers Park is a microcosm of the city with areas of relative affluence, and areas of deprivation. The neighborhood’s Lakefront continues to attract investment and new residents, while the Clark Street corridor and North of Howard area continue to suffer from a general lack of investment and pockets of entrenched poverty.

There are certainly exceptions, as the Elevation Lofts article proves (see above), but the situation overall remains static, and the lines of demarcation remain largely unchanged.