ROGERS PARK — Rogers Park officials are looking at ways to stem the neighborhood’s gun violence after shootings in the area have risen this year.
The Far North Side neighborhood saw a violent end to June, with one person killed and five others shot in Rogers Park since Sunday. Since June 16, two people have been killed and six others wounded in Rogers Park shootings, according to Chicago Police crime statistics.
Through the first six months of 2020, there have been four murders and 22 “shooting events” in the Rogers Park police district, which also encompasses West Ridge and the northern end of Edgewater, Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said a town hall Wednesday. Over the same period in 2019, the district saw two murders and 13 shootings.
Hadden’s tally was out of date by the time the town hall wrapped up. About 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, a 24-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man were shot while driving northbound in the 7300 block of North Sheridan Road, according to police. Block Club updated the tally to include the most recent incident.
There also has been an increase in local shooting incidents where no one was wounded, events that aren’t usually made public in police crime notifications, Hadden said.
“It feels like the gun violence is out of control,” Hadden said at the town hall. “It’s scary.”
Rogers Park’s spike in gun violence mirrors the citywide trend for 2020. Homicides are up 25 percent and shootings are up 40 percent this year versus the same time period last year, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Gun violence is not a new problem, but Rogers Park officials are looking at new responses to the issue.
Hadden said she is looking through her ward budget to identify funds that can be used to stem violence this summer. She is also engaging with neighborhood groups like ONE Northside, A Just Harvest and the Howard Area Community Center, organizations that have provided violence prevention efforts and social services aimed at offering alternatives to violence.
The 49th Ward will hold a meeting next week asking the groups how the office can help, Hadden said.
The alderman is also working to enlist the help of GoodKids MadCity, an outreach group that is working on an initiative called “peace book,” Hadden said. The program would provide street outreach and help create peace treaties between feuding gangs, work to install safe zones in the community and help provide social services to those involved in gun violence.
The city has earmarked money to prevent violence this summer, but the funds are subject to a “request for proposals” bidding process, meaning the money has yet to be allocated, Hadden said.
Other ways to fund violence prevention efforts is to redirect money from the Chicago Police budget, something Hadden supports. Larry Suffredin, Cook County commissioner for Rogers Park, said he is also working to identify resources for local groups who can directly intervene to help prevent violence.
“The concept of violence reduction in my mind is not a police issue,” Suffredin said at the town hall. “We need to be the ones preventing crimes from happening.”
Among those killed in Rogers Park this month is John Jones, a 54-year-old man who was hit by a stray bullet while riding his bike in the 7600 block of North Marshfield Avenue, the Sun-Times reported. On Sunday, 36-year-old Angelo Pullum was fatally shot while standing outside a home in the 1400 block of West Lunt Avenue, according to the Sun-Times.
In West Ridge, a 20-year-old DePaul student was gunned down while walking home from his Andersonville barista job, ABC7 reported.
The shootings make life in Rogers Park and other neighborhoods uneasy for some. At the town hall, a man mentioned moving to Rogers Park from a Memphis neighborhood where two people he knew were shot. Since moving here, the man said a shooting took place next to his place of employment and he was threatened with death after trying to intervene in his bike being vandalized.
Hadden said it is time for new violence prevention strategies to help neighbors avoid further trauma from gun violence.
“It’s like living in terror and it’s totally unacceptable,” Hadden said. “We as a city and a community have to come together to do something different.”
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