Color of Crime: Why are so many young blacks being shot? - FOX 35 News Orlando

Color of Crime: Why are so many young African-Americans being shot?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The victims of Thursday night's shocking mass shooting on 51st Street were nearly all African-American. So were the suspected offenders. That's often the case, with most of Chicago's murderous violence taking place in a relatively small number of neighborhoods: led by Englewood, South Shore, Austin, Garfield Park and West Pullman.

Chicago is roughly one-third African-American, one-third Hispanic and one-third white. The actual body count looks nothing like that.

When the victim is an infant like Jonylah Watkins shot in her father's arms, or, as Thursday night, a 3-year old shot with members of his family, public outrage rises to a peak. But Chicago seems to have grown numb at the night-in, night-out spectacle of gang members shooting and killing each other in the most-impoverished parts of the West Side and South Side.

It was funeral home owner Spencer Leak's duty last year to bury more than 100 murder victims, mostly young men, many with previous criminal convictions.

"The young people who were murdered were black. The perpetrators were black. They had also one other thing in common. They all were a product of Chicago Public Schools," Leak said.

While murder in Chicago is down from last year, the racial disparity is virtually the same. More than 80% of the victims were African-American: 257; Hispanic: 59; white: 5.

By putting Ku Klux Klan-style hoods on the heads of gangbangers shooting other gangbangers, artist James Pate dramatized the phenomenon. His work, called "KKK: Kin Killin' Kin," is currently on display at the South Side's DuSable Museum.

Police insisted Friday that they do not dismiss such killings.

"And I want to be clear. Even if it's gang-related, even if we have the most hardened criminal who becomes the victim of violence, that individual is the father, brother, sister, sometimes parent of somebody else," McCarthy said at a press conference.

The longtime pastor of a parish in hard-hit Auburn-Gresham told FOX 32 why he thinks the violence is centered in just a few neighborhoods.

As long as we have young people out here who are angry and who are hopeless, don't have jobs, aren't in're going to continue to see this violence rage up," Rev. Pfleger said.

There is one more set of numbers generated by a University of Chicago researcher that are worth noting. Citywide since 1990, murder has fallen by more than half and by an astounding 78% in neighborhoods around downtown and on the North Side. In a few communities on the West Side and South Side, though, it's up about 10%.

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