Tired of violence, some Chicagoans opt to move

Cover Story
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

The last weekend in October ended in violence with at least 17 dead and 57 wounded in shootings around the city.

Chicago has recently marked some grim milestones making people say enough is enough.

Constance Lee and her husband Jonas say the violence in Chicago is so horrible, they are prisoners in their own home. Tired of dodging bullets, the Lees say they plan to move their five children out of state within the next two years.

“Once you become a mom you start thinking, 'What’s smart? What’s the right thing to do for your kids?'” said Constance Lee.

This past summer a bullet pierced thru their dining room window. Lee says she wants to be gone as soon as possible.

Others have already gone.

Tamara Hill moved her family from Chicago to Atlanta six years ago.

“For me it was a safety issue, for my kids, to have a normal childhood,” Hill says. She says she loves that her kids can play in the yard with the dog.

Darius Johnson is away at graduate school, although he come’s home to visit his grandparents, he doesn’t plan to reside here permanently.

“Sometimes, I don’t think I realize how Chicago has taken an effect on my life,” he says.

Johnson has been exposed to the violence in Chicago his entire life. His mother was killed on the front porch of their home when he was just a baby. Now grown, Johnson says he can name at least five people he knew personally who have been killed by gunfire throughout the years, including his friend Hadiya Pendleton.

Police data shows as of mid-October Chicago had already logged a thousand more shootings than the same period last year; from 2,441 in 2015 to 3,475 this year. Homicides went up from 409 to 595 comparing the same time periods.

Meanwhile the population has been sharply declining according to census data gathered by the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago area lost an estimated 6,263 residents in 2015-the greatest loss of any metropolitan area in the country.

The experts attribute this to a number of reasons including high taxes, unemployment, struggling schools and crime.

However, not everyone has thrown in the towel.

Aisha Butler has decided to stay and work on improving the Englewood neighborhood she lives in. Butler founded Residents Association of Greater Englewood, R.A.G.E.:

“We worked with the aldermen to get buildings that were troubled torn down. We report crime. We talk to the neighbors on the block,” said Butler.

As for the Lee family, they say the sooner they leave Chicago the better. Constance worries about their eldest son.

“I don’t want him to start one day of high school in the city of Chicago.”


Latest News

More News