*(Via theGrio) – There are many theories about what has caused a recent spike in Chicago’s homicide rate, including a splintering of established drug gangs, the warm winter and high unemployment in some neighborhoods that seem a world away from the city’s beaches, lush parks and skyscrapers.
The numbers clearly show there is a problem, with eight killed and at least 35 wounded in a spasm of gunfire last weekend.
The violence is nowhere near its historical peak of the early 1990s, when Chicago recorded roughly 900 homicides per year. But from Jan. 1 through late May there were 203 homicides, an increase of more than 50 percent over the 134 during the same period in 2011.
Though police are loath to attribute this winter’s unusually warm weather as a possible factor, because it smacks of excuse-making, there were far more people on the streets in January, February and March — including gang members — than during those months in 2011.
Just as important have been dramatic changes within the gangs themselves.
“In the past the gangs were very organized from the top down,” said Sgt. Matthew Little of the Chicago Police Department’s gang enforcement unit. As more gang leaders are arrested, convicted and sent to prison, the gangs they left behind have become “very splintered,” he said.
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