Parts of Chicago more dangerous than war zones, who’s profiting on the Bally’s deal and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Chicago police officers at the scene of a fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man last Sept. 2 in the 4400 block of West Jackson Boulevard in West Garfield Park.

Chicago police officers at the scene of a fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man last Sept. 2 in the 4400 block of West Jackson Boulevard in West Garfield Park. A new study describes the neighborhood during the COVID-19 pandemic as deadlier than a war zone.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 12 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy and remain extremely cold with wind chills as low as -3. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 38, then Sunday it will be mostly cloudy with a high near 31.

Top story

Violence in some Chicago neighborhoods puts young men at greater risk than U.S. troops faced in Iraq, Afghanistan war zones, study finds

For more than a decade, some people have used the term “Chiraq” — a mashup of Chicago and Iraq — to describe a city whose violence makes some neighborhoods feel like battle zones.

Now, researchers say they’ve found that some parts of Chicago are even deadlier for military-aged young men than what U.S. soldiers faced in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The risk of a man 18 to 29 years old dying in a shooting in the most violent ZIP code in Chicago — 60624, a swath of the West Side that includes Garfield Park — was higher than the death rate for U.S. soldiers in the Afghanistan war or for soldiers in an Army combat brigade that fought in Iraq, according to a study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.

“You fight in an Army combat brigade, you come back and say, ‘My God, I was in the thick of it for a year, and look at the risks I faced,’ ” says Brandon del Pozo, a Brown University researcher and former New York City cop who worked with three other scholars to examine violence in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles. “In Garfield Park, these young men face those risks every single year. And the risks accumulate.”

Among men ages 18 to 29, the annual rate of firearm homicides in the 60624 code was 3.24 per 100,000 people in 2021 and 2022, the study found, compared with an annual death rate for U.S. troops in combat in Iraq of 1.7 per 100,000.

Even when the researchers expanded their sample to include Chicago ZIP codes ranked in the top 10% of violence, young men still faced a greater risk of dying than soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, the study found.

Frank Main has more on the study and what its researchers recommend to help communities like Garfield Park.

More news you need

A bright one

Atsuko Okatsuka starts with the silly

Last year was a true breakthrough for rising-star comic Atsuko Okatsuka, who not only released her critically acclaimed debut stand-up comedy special “The Intruder” on HBO, but also was named one of Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch For last year.

Her road to success has taken some unusual turns, growing out of a childhood that was challenging at times. Born in Taiwan, she spent her childhood in Japan before moving to the United States at 10 years old with her mother and grandmother and living undocumented for seven years.

But now she’s happily living out her comedy dreams amid a tour focusing on new material. She performs a series of six sold-out shows this weekend at the Den Theatre.

Rosie O’Donnell Hosts FRIENDLY HOUSE LA Comedy Benefit At The Fonda Theatre

Atsuko Okatsuka performs onstage at The Fonda Theatre on July 16, 2022 in Los Angeles. She performs tonight through Sunday at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

“This is the first time I’ve performed in Chicago more than one night at a time, so I’m looking forward to really getting to know the city and at least see a museum,” says Okatsuka. “Chicago loves comedy. I know that because a lot of comedians I know came from there and I know the background that’s in Chicago and, yeah, I’m looking forward to great comedy lovers.”

Okatsuka took the reins of her stand-up career in 2012, when she produced the Disoriented Comedy tour alongside two other female Asian comics. Later in Los Angeles, she was notable on the local scene for not only her strong comedy performances, but also her unique appearances at hipster venue Dynasty Typewriter and its Sunday afternoon “Go Day” series of audience-interactive experiences. While Okatsuka has moved on from those appearances, she still defines being silly a key part of her creative process.

“It’s always what’s silly for me. If it just tickles me with silliness, that’s what I chase first,” she explains. “Then I try to find the macro and how to tie my joke into a bigger theme.

Carl Kozlowski has more with Okatsuka ahead of her Chicago residency here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

Should the mayor of Chicago be pro- or anti-dibs? Tell us why.

Send us an email at and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: If you were doomed to experience your own “Groundhog Day” scenario, where would you choose to be?

Here’s what some of you said...

“Stuck at a White Sox game, it’s the 8th inning, the Sox are winning and I’m enjoying a funnel cake. I could do that every day if we didn’t have old man winter.” — Charlotte Taylor Powers

“My wedding day! By far one of the best days of my life. I had so much fun and I would get to hang out with all the people I love most! Though my life has been a lot like ‘Groundhog Day’ because 20 years later and my wife is still as wonderful and beautiful as she was on our wedding day!” — Derek Matheis

The west coast of Ireland with the Atlantic Ocean in view on a turf farm with a stone cottage, chimney and thatched roof.” — Craig Barner

“In my mom’s backyard surrounded by family, grandkids playing in the background.” — Sandra Judith

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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