An analysis of the August toll shows more clearly than ever who’s dying in the Chicago slaughter and what’s behind it: surging violence in a handful of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods, which are riven by loosely organized street gangs.
Young African-American men are the chief victims. In a city that’s one-third black, the overwhelming majority of those murdered in August — 71 — were, like Malik, African American. Another 11 had Hispanic surnames. Almost half were in their teens or early 20s.
And more than 70 percent of those shot to death appeared on the Chicago police’s “Strategic Subject List,” which includes 1,400 people considered likely targets of violence based on gang involvement or criminal record.
To those outside Chicago, the rising murder toll might suggest a city wracked by widespread violence, but August portrays a much narrower picture of constant tit-for-tat attacks among gang members, with bystanders sometimes caught in the crossfire.