Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
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Fewer Chicagoans shot, killed this year — but fears of uptick in violence persist as summer looms
Following Chicago’s deadliest year in decades, the number of people shot and killed in the 15 communities targeted in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s signature anti-violence plan has fallen by 26% ahead of the historically brutal summer months — a pivotal stretch in what she has described as a “make-or-break year” for lowering crime.
This year’s drop marks a promising trend and accounts for much of an overall citywide reduction in shootings and homicides, though the city has experienced jarring spates of violence when the weather has warmed. Lightfoot and members of her administration have nevertheless begun touting and taking credit for the downtick, which experts believe is premature.
Launched in the summer of 2020, the “Our City Our Safety” initiative looks to flood the most dangerous communities with new resources, from violence intervention programs to help with jobs, housing and health. The mayor has framed it as an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to violence prevention, with the city taking cues from its COVID-19 response by pulling together various agencies and outside partners to deliver services.
Through last Sunday, the targeted communities on the South and West sides saw a 19% decline in homicides and a 28% drop in non-fatal shooting victims from the same time last year, according to a Sun-Times analysis. Across the city, those numbers have fallen 7% and 17% respectively, accounting for a 15% overall drop over the same period.
But crime experts say taking credit for the downtick is premature.
A more simple explanation for the downtrend, according to Wesley Skogan, a Northwestern University professor who specializes in crime issues: The weather has been unseasonably crummy this year.
When temperatures rose into the 80s during one weekend last month, Skogan noted there was “a horrific round of shootings.” Then on Monday, as temperatures jumped again, at least 12 people were shot across the city, two of them fatally.
City officials say they are now preparing for the looming summer months.
Tom Schuba and Andy Boyle have more on the city’s response to violence here.
More news you need
- Ken Griffin, founder of Citadel, and businessman Michael Sacks today gave millions in seed money for two academies at the University of Chicago to train police leaders and people who run violence-interruption groups. The two U. of C. academies will offer six months of training.
- R. Kelly’s Chicago trial on charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice appears set for Aug. 1 after his new defense attorney failed to persuade a judge to delay it for three months. Kelly’s new attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said she needs more time to review documents in the case.
- A deal has been struck on a new Chicago City Council ward map that will keep the decision from ending up in the hands of voters in the form of a June referendum. Under the deal, which still must be cemented by a City Council vote next week, the map will create 16 Black majority wards and 14 Latino majority wards, according to Ald. George Cardenas.
- DePaul University’s board of trustees Tuesday named Robert Manuel to become the 13th president of the nation’s largest Catholic university. Manuel, who has been president at the University of Indianapolis since 2012, will succeed A. Gabriel Esteban, who last year announced plans to step down this spring.
- Lecturers and adjuncts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago said today they are organizing a union, adding to the labor activism among employees at the allied institutions. The nontenure-track faculty issued a letter announcing their plans to affiliate with Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
- FTX US, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, celebrated the opening of its new Fulton Market headquarters today. FTX US also announced it is working with Equity and Transformation, a Chicago group that helps people who have been incarcerated, to launch a one-year pilot program that will give $500 a month to 100 Chicagoans.
A bright one
Nick Cave MCA show takes a deep dive into his life’s work
Chicago has supported a rich panorama of artists across its history, but few have built a more distinctive body of work or achieved wider fame than Nick Cave, who is known for mixed-media works that offer bright colors and tantalizing textures and possess a social-political edge.
Cave’s accomplishments are being celebrated in “Forothermore,” an exhibition that opens This Saturday and runs through Oct. 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and then travels to the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
The show, which features more than 75 works and stretches back to 1989 and Cave’s first post-student creations, is billed as his most comprehensive career survey to date and his largest show ever in Chicago.
“I’m excited about it,” the 63-year-old artist said. “I think it’s the right time. I cannot wait to get a sense of how it is going to feel and get a sense of the flow. It’s a survey show but it’s also about an experience. It’s about choreography. Everything is arranged and set up in a particular way for you to have this extraordinary journey in the mind of an artist.”
In conjunction with “Forothermore,” two of Cave’s video projections are visible through Sept. 7 on the facade of the Merchandise Mart as part of the “Art on theMART” series.
In addition, Cave and his brother, Jack, have created “The Color Is,” which promotional materials describe as a “performative fashion experience.” It will be shown at a celebration gala on May 21 in the Roundhouse at the DuSable Museum of African American History and during two public performances May 22 and 23 at the museum.
Kyle MacMillan has more with Cave here.
From the press box
- Tim Anderson’s penalty from MLB for inappropriate actions during a game in Cleveland on April 20 has been reduced to a fine, sources told our Daryl Van Schouwen.
- Wish you could be like Bears quarterback Justin Fields? Rick Telander has some advice: “Take some aspirin and call us in six months.”
- Dana Evans stood out for the Sky in their tough season-opening loss to the Sparks last Friday. She’ll try to keep it up when the Sky face the Liberty tomorrow night.
Your daily question ☕
What is the best beach in Chicago? Tell us why.
Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday, we asked you: What’s the best way to make a work commute more enjoyable?
Here’s what some of you said…
“Totally opposing suggestions: 1. Use it to meditate. 2. Find an engaging book on tape.” — Elizabeth Bj Fukawa
“When you meet someone special at the ‘L’ stop, and you both adjust your schedule to meet in the morning and evening commute home.” — Nikki Dub
“I’m on the road too much to even contemplate the best commute. Coffee, podcasts, sunglasses, a healthy snack, and comfortable shoes make it more bearable.” — Robert Lisowski
“Good tunes on a nice audio system.” — Gina Cascarano
“Reading, cross-stitching, sleeping, listening to the radio, coffee, treats, meeting and making friends! Twenty years of trying different things! I’m now happily retired.” — Lois Grimes Rasmussen
“Honk and yell at everybody on the road.” — Gerry Diaz
“Reading a book was good for me.” — Linda Harlan
“Window seat, or not, but some good listening music, always works for me, CTA ( bus, or train) and Metra, Uber too. Music and the landscape of Chicago.” — Michael Johnson
“Coffee there, a doobie back.” — Andrew Flash Caine
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