The Chicago Murder Template: Troubled Young Black Men

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A Sun-Times analysis of murder in Chicago shows that most of the 324 people killed there in the first six months of 2016 shared a number of characteristics. Most of the dead were young, African-American men. They typically lived and died in neighborhoods crippled by poverty and flooded with drugs and guns — places where gang conflict and street stops by the police are a daily fact of life. Most already were in trouble with the police or caught up in violence long before they were killed.

Among the Sun-Times’ findings: 90 percent of those killed in the first half of 2016 died from a gunshot wound; 72 percent were African-American men, and their average age was 29; four out of five had faced criminal charges in Cook County at some point, mostly for drug offenses; two out of five had drug convictions, and more than a quarter had been convicted of a violent offense or illegal gun possession.

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