A Bloomberg news analysis in December of 2017 put the cost of Chicago's violence at a staggering $2.5 billion dollars a year. The multi-billion dollar figure breaks down to average $15,500 per household according to Jens Ludwig and Craig Futterman of the University of Chicago crime lab. The analysis includes $900-$1,200 for the cost of a typical ambulance ride to the ER, $800-$1,200 for "incremental costs" for an autopsy by the medical examiner, $52,000 which is the average cost for trauma care of gunshot victims, (70% of whom are uninsured) and $35,000 which is the average cost of care at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where 1/20th of the patients are gunshot victims. Added to this is the cost of the City's resources through police overhead. Every murder and shooting incurs overtime with extreme cases consuming 1,000 to 1,500 hours of premium pay.
No amount of money can assuage the loss and devastation suffered by victims and loved ones who are personally impacted by the violence. However, it is the elephant in the room and it's impact is effecting every single tax payer in Chicago and Cook County. Everett Dirksen, A U.S. Senator from Illinois back in the 60's, was to have famously said, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." If the current trend of violence continues these figures will certainly escalate. Since 2013 thru July 11 2018 Chicago has endured over 20,000 people shot and 3,210 homicides.
A study from the Center of American Progress estimated that overall violence, not just that of guns, puts a $5.3 billion "ANNUAL" dent, (hello!) in the collective wallet of Chicago. The study postulates reducing homicides by 25 percent would boost home values in Chicago by $5.5 billion. I realize there is no magic wand that will extricate Chicago from it's epidemic of violence, but as we can clearly see by the cost it has a secondary devastating effect. PBS News Hour produced a show called "Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis in Chicago." Indeed.
Chicago has over 59 main gangs and over 2,500 affiliates. The Chicago Crime Commission has identified over a 1,000 gang leaders. Members of the communities are literally afraid to go about their normal lives for fear of being shot or killed. Over 70 children under 16 have been shot this year. The Chicago Police Department has less than a 15% clearance rate on homicides and shootings. The court system and prosecutors are not utilizing the tougher gun laws that they were so desperately calling for. Since the much publicized march on July 7th on the Dan Ryan led by Priest activist Father Michael Pfleger, supposedly to call attention to the City's violence, there have been 50 people shot over 5 days, and 11 murders mostly fueled by "gang thugs" in the neighborhoods. There has been no contact from the City's politicians. Father Pfleger said he is waiting.
At some point those community members are going to have to demand help and realize the people who you entrusted with your vote are not your leaders, they are your representatives. They are representatives of the people. I have a humble suggestion for Father Pfleger and those beleaguered folks who are trying to live in peace and make a decent life for their families without fear of harm. Forget shutting down traffic. SHUT DOWN the power. The Government represents you. John Locke said it best "REVOLT is the right of the people. Go to City Hall and the County Building and demand and shout until you are heard. Tell them enough is enough. You want solutions and help, or you will find others who will. Chicago you have Tyrant's among you. It's not anything new in the world. Thomas Paine uttered these words to describe a call to action."O Ye that love mankind, Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, "STAND FORTH." Old words but they never get old. Join together or more innocence will continue to die.
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