The figures in Chicago are startling, through the end of June, the number of murders in Chicago is up 37 percent over the same period last year. There were 433 murders in Chicago in 2011.
A city desperate for answers has turned to Yale Univsersity professor Andrew Papachristos. He looked at murders that occurred between 2005 and 2010 in West Garfield Park and North Lawndale, two low-income West Side neighborhoods. Over that period, Papachristos found that 191 people in those neighborhoods were killed, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
Murder occasionally is random, but, more often, he found, the victims have links either to their killers or to others linked to the killers. Seventy percent of the killings he studied occurred within what Papachristos determined was a social network of only about 1,600 people — out of a population in those neighborhoods of about 80,000.
Each person in that network of 1,600 people had been arrested at some point with at least one other person in the same network.
For those inside the network, the risk of being murdered, Papachristos found, was about 30 out of 1,000. In contrast, the risk of getting killed for others in those neighborhoods was less than one in 1,000, according to the Sun-Times.
“It thus appears that murder in these communities occurs in a very small world where the victims are just a few handshakes away from each other,” he wrote in a paper last year titled “The Coming of a Networked Criminology.”
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