When Chicago’s gang war intensified last spring, shootings became so frequent they seemed like a ghastly game of tennis, with each senseless attack followed by a vengeful response, reports the Associated Press. The furious rate of killing drew national attention and even invited comparisons between Chicago and some world war zones. The pace of homicides and shootings has slowed considerably as police step up their presence and residents challenge gang members for control of the streets. The increase in killings has declined somewhat, to 25 percent above last year.
In at least one of the city’s most notoriously dangerous neighborhoods, homicides have actually fallen. “People are taking a stand, that we’re not going to stand for it,” said Lisa Williams, a member of a South Side block-watch group where residents installed their own surveillance cameras. In March, the violence killed 52 people — more than twice as many as died in the previous March. For the first three months of the year, the number of deaths shot up by 60 percent, raising fears that authorities were losing control of gang-dominated areas. Chicago still has a major problem with gangs and gun violence, which President Obama acknowledged of his adopted hometown in last week’s presidential debate. Police have cracked down on drug dealing and put more uniformed officers on specific beats. Arrests of suspected gang members are up by 5,500 this year, said Superintendent Garry McCarthy.