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Residents in Chicago’s deadliest neighborhoods brace for bloody summer

June 21, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Residents in Chicago’s deadliest neighborhoods brace for bloody summer

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Shaquisha Gibson-Posey whips out a graphic picture of her murdered brother whenever her 15-year-old son complains about being stuck in the house. She tells him that is why he can’t go out in the neighborhood this summer.

Treshaun Carr is extremely cautious while walking down the street. Carr makes sure that he only walks on the driver’s side of cars that are parked so it’s less likely an individual can jump out and shoot him.

Miyoshi Bates, although sad, felt relief when her son decided not to come home from college when his classes ended last month.

No matter the season, over a half-dozen communities on the west and south sides of Chicago are extremely dangerous places to live. These neighborhoods account for more than half of Chicago’s murders within only 230 square miles.

As nearly 400,000 youths approach the end of the school year and begin their summer breaks, the streets of Englewood, West Garfield Park, and several other neighborhoods become targets for those with fights to settle, frustrations to vent, or drug territories to guard.

This undated photograph provided by his family shows Deionte Harris with his mother, Aishia Dawson

This undated photograph provided by his family shows Deionte Harris with his mother, Aishia Dawson 

According to the Associated Press, the city’s homicide toll is already 98 over what it was during the same period last year. Those who reside in these violent communities are doing whatever they can to get through the summer safely. Last summer, the monthly death toll reached 62.

Rev. Marshall Hatch, who is a minister in West Garfield Park, said in an interview that “It could be a bloodbath…It is frightening to think about.”

Aisha Dawson is a 34-year-old hairdresser who plans to transform her residence into a 24-hour compound for her children. Her daughter Ja’nell, who’s in eighth grade, will only be allowed to leave the house to go to church or to stay with relatives out in the suburbs. Her older daughter Autumn is only permitted to go to work and then she will be forced to go straight home.

Dawson’s 18-year-old son, Deionte Harris, was shot to death back in September when gunfire erupted at a group he was chatting with.

Aisha said that for her 11-year-old, “he’ll just be in the house, up here with us. Period.”

Shaquisha Gibson-Posey has arranged to send her teenage son, Londell Easley Jr., to stay with relatives in Milwaukee and stock up on video games for when he’s home. To remind her son about the dangers of violence in their neighborhood, she pulls out a morgue picture of her brother whose face was destroyed in a 1992 gunshot blast.

Gibson-Posey said, “He can’t be a 15-year-old kid … He loves basketball, but I won’t let him go out there (because) they are shooting up playgrounds. He’s miserable.”

The city has faced 294 homicides in 2016, which is more than Los Angeles’ and New York’s murder rates combined. Officials attribute the manslaughters to gang rivalries, whose membership numbers range in the tens of thousands, and suspicions also exist that some officers may have retreated away after several highly publicized and controversial shooting by cops.

May saw 66 homicides in total for the month, which was more than any May in the last 20 years.

Among the victims included Leonardo Betancourt, 13, who was riding in the backseat of an SUV with two gang members when an individual from another vehicle opened fire. Another victim, 22-year-old Lee McCullum III was featured in 2014 CNN documentary titled “Chicagoland.” McCullum, a former prom king, was shown in the documentary about his high school’s efforts to keep young kids in school. He was found shot to death in May after finding himself back in gang-related life.

Community organizations are struggling to find safer places for their children to spend their break. New Beginnings Church of Chicago has added six additional hours to its weekday program so that it’s open until 7 p.m. On weekends, the church’s center will remain open until 11 p.m.

The pastor of the church, Rev. Corey Brooks said, “We have to do what we can to keep as many kids off the streets for as long as we can.”

Furthermore, the local park district is planning to allow an additional 19,000 children into its camps and programs.

When venturing outside, Treshaun Carr, 20, avoids walking with others to avoid getting hit by gunfire that was intended for someone else.

The young man said, “First thing on my mind — getting shot.”

Miyoshi Bates said expressed her disappointment that 21-year-old son will stay in Houston to work over the summer rather than come home from college, but she did not want to ask him to change his plans.

She said, “He didn’t feel safe riding the bus … I am at peace with him being away.”

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