US attorney: Chicago homicides up 20 percent in 2015; violence aggravated by gangs

CHICAGO (WLS) -- U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon offered a sobering report on gangs and violent crime in Chicago. He said murders are up 20 percent in the city for the year.

It's an alarming trend that affects younger victims over what have previously been petty disagreements. Shootings are now being fueled by trash talk, and social media spats.

The problem is aggravated by the city's many gangs that are splintering into smaller and smaller groups. They now number well over 600 and they are targeting children.

"Kids need parents and mentors and education and work opportunities. Instead, what they see in some parts of the city, as early as the first or second grade, are gangs and gang factions as a social network and an ostensible path to self-identity and success. Then we have lost the war before the battle has begun," Fardon said.

Chicago's South and West sides are the most seriously affected parts of the city.

This trend is being echoed in major cities across America. Homicides are up 60 percent in Saint Louis, up 56 percent in Baltimore, up 44 percent in Washington D.C. and up 76 percent in Milwaukee.

Fardon said the homicide rate in 2014 was the lowest since 1965. This year's increase is measured against a historically low murder rate.
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