IS CHICAGO REALLY THAT DANGEROUS?

IS CHICAGO REALLY THAT DANGEROUS?

Elise Skarda, Reporter

Chicago is known as one of the most dangerous cities in the US. According to a poll in the Huffington Post, over half of Americans think Chicago is the most dangerous city in the US.

 

According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago had more homicides than any other city in the US in 2015, at 468 murders. Most of these murders occurred in Chicago’s West and South sides.

 

The dangers of Chicago, however, affect close to home. Every year, hundreds of Arrowhead students travel to Chicago for foreign language and other field trips.

 

According to the Wall Street Journal, in the first five months of 2016, someone was shot every 150 minutes, while someone was murdered every 14 hours.

 

On Tuesday night, July 12, 2016, 3 were killed and 9 wounded in shootings across Chicago, while only a day earlier, 15 were shot, according to the Chicago Tribune.

 

In spring of 2016, many students on an Arrowhead High School Spanish III field trip to Chicago were reprimanded for leaving their groups and wandering into the city alone.

 

Junior Sam Cox says, “I think it is very critical students stay together in Chicago.  Although most trips are to safe areas, cities are more dangerous and more foreign than what students can find at home. Simply put, because students do not live in Chicago or another large city, even the most “street-smart” students could find themselves unprepared in case of an emergency or other dangerous situation.”

 

There was even a movie made about the situation in Chicago, titled, “Chiraq.” This movie, directed by Spike Lee, was about women who abstained from sex until their men stopped the cycle of violence. The movie received mixed reviews.

 

According to Dahleen Glanton, of the Chicago Tribune, the movie, “pales compared with what it’s like in the real Chiraq.” She continues to say, “We don’t see the more insidious costs of the violence — the broken families, the loss of hope and the defeatist attitude among youths that being born into Chiraq means they are destined to die young.”

 

Others completely disagree. Natalie Moore of Salon magazine says, “It’s actually racist. ‘Chiraq’ plays on fear running throughout the black community. We are internalizing what we are told about black places being violent. Language impacts us. The media influences us. We fear black bodies. We fear young people of color. We become what we think we are.”

 

The term “Chiraq” compares the city of Chicago to the country of Iraq. Some feel the term is accurate, that there are neighborhoods in Chicago where children fall asleep to the sound of gunshots. Others say the term is racist.

 

Junior Greyson Maclean says, “I feel like it’s pop culture trying to trivialize the root cause. By comparing the situation in Chicago to that in Iraq, it makes both situations seem less serious.”

 

Junior Sam Cox also agrees, saying “Honestly, I’ve never heard the term [Chiraq]. I looked it up, quickly, and I feel it is more racist in its usage, but I’ve never seen or heard it used in real life.”

 

Chicago’s South and West sides are overrun with gangs and gang violence is a part of everyday life for the residents there. However, it isn’t all bad in this area.

 

Junior Mary Baumgartner has other opinions on the more dangerous neighborhoods of Chicago. She says, “I feel like they are heavily stereotyped. I believe there are people there that just can’t afford to live anywhere else. If I was volunteering or on a mission trip, I would go to those parts of the city because I would trust that I would be safe. On my own, I would feel less safe going to those parts of the city.”