When the Chicago Police Department unveiled their latest statistics on violent crime in the Windy City last week, the news sounded better than expected.
According to department officials -- whose more positive statistical changes have been called into question -- overall crime incidents are down 20 percent over the first four months of the year and shootings are also down slightly from the same period in 2013, though the number of homicides through the end of the month increased by two over the same period.
Several statistics CPD didn't lead with are more troubling, however. On the heels of a relatively peaceful (and historically frigid) winter, 34 homicides were reported in April in Chicago -- a 48 percent increase over the same month last year.
And as the Chicago Reporter pointed out in a recent analysis, young people living in the city's black and Latino neighborhoods -- like 14-year-old Endia Martin, who was gunned down on April 28 in what was reportedly a dispute over a boy -- are bearing much of the brunt from the surge in violence. Killings of young people (24 years of age or younger) increased by almost 150 percent last month compared to April 2013, continuing a long-standing trend.
Over the two weekends prior to Endia's killing, eight more young Chicagoans also lost their lives. This past weekend, two of the city's three victims of fatal shootings were also under the age of 25.
As the violence ebbs and flows from week to week, month to month, year to year, it's still the city's youngest residents caught in the majority of crossfires.
And these numbers don't include the children who were shot and lived, or who were shot at but went uninjured, or those who lost a brother or sister, son or daughter, classmate or best friend, teammate or neighbor or mother or father.