Signs of illegal gun trafficking, mayoral hopefuls’ plans for CPS 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.

SHARE Signs of illegal gun trafficking, mayoral hopefuls’ plans for CPS and more in your Chicago news roundup
US-TEXAS-GUNS-NRA

A 9mm Glock handgun, the most common firearm traced by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after being recovered from crimes committed in Chicago.

Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images

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.

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 44 degrees. Tonight will see a chance of showers and a low near 39. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 41.

Top story

Shorter ‘time-to-crime’ for guns used in crimes in Chicago than in NY, LA, a sign of illegal trafficking, Justice Department says

Chicago’s “time-to-crime” — the period between the purchase of a gun and its recovery by the police in a crime — was far shorter than in New York or Los Angeles, according to a new government report on a measure the Justice Department said is an indicator of illegal trafficking.

The new report by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives provides a detailed look at guns that were recovered after being used in the commission of crimes and investigated to determine their original owners. Chicago’s median time-to-crime was 2.8 years compared with 6.3 years in New York and 4.2 years in Los Angeles, according to the report.

“Shorter time-to-crime periods are indicators of illegal trafficking and provide crucial intelligence to investigators,” the Justice Department said of the ATF findings.

According to Tess Fardon of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a median time-to-crime under three years is considered an indicator of weapons trafficking. Fardon wants Illinois officials to conduct regular inspections of gun dealers, which a 2019 state licensing law allows, to help ensure that they aren’t turning a blind eye to any that might be engaged in illegal trafficking.

According to the ATF report, Chicago leads every other city in America in the number of guns that the agency has traced to determine the original owner. There were traces on more than 50,000 guns Chicago police officers recovered from 2017 to 2021, about 31,000 traces in Los Angeles and 19,000 in New York.

A key reason for that, experts say, is that the Chicago Police Department for years has been a national leader in asking the ATF to investigate the origins of every recovered gun. Chicago’s large number of gun traces also correlates with the far higher number of fatal and nonlethal shootings in the city.

Frank Main has more on the Justice Department’s findings here.

More news you need

A bright one

10-acre youth sports complex, community center opens on West Side: ‘It’ll be valuable to have kids from all different neighborhoods under one roof’

Uriah and Alanah Gomez explored a new sports complex on the West Side last Thursday. And taking in its pristine hardwood basketball court, cavernous indoor turf field and other facilities, the siblings nodded in agreement that it was something they could get used to.

“It’s so modern. It’s going to be an amazing program for kids in the neighborhood,” said Priscilla Gomez, their mother. “The kids here didn’t have anything prior to this building being built.”

Gomez said the family has been attending church in the area since before Alanah, 18, was born, and that for all that time, the 10-acre plot in the Austin neighborhood where the new complex stands was vacant. The site at the intersection of Moffat Street and Laramie Avenue was home to a paint factory decades ago but had become a scar that they could see from Grace and Peace Church, immediately adjacent to the site.

Now, it’s the opposite — the North Austin Center includes 152,333 square feet of indoor space, outdoor turf fields, classrooms, a professional-size indoor turf field, an Esports lab and a baseball academy from one of Chicago’s hometown heroes.

AUSTINCENTER_020423_04.JPG

Kids take the ceremonial first kick at the North Austin Center at 1841 N. Laramie Ave last week in North Austin.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The aim behind the massive endeavor is to improve access to high-quality sports training for youth. To that end, kids from the neighborhood and Chicago will be able to sign up for free to play in leagues at the facility, which will also be a host for travel teams and whoever else wants to join.

The Chicago Fire Foundation, which helped fund the building, will support 20 hours of free community programming every week, and Intentional Sports — one of three nonprofits based that will use the facility — will reserve the fields exclusively for free community programs on weeknights from 3 to 7 p.m.

Community nonprofits By the Hand Club for Kids and Grace and Peace Revive Center will provide programming for youth in the classrooms and community spaces at the complex, which will also be home to Jason Heyward’s Baseball Academy.

Our Michael Loria has more on the new complex here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

You’ve been tasked with selecting the official anthem of Chicago. What song will you choose? Tell us why.

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

On Friday, we asked you: Should the mayor of Chicago be pro- or anti-dibs?

Here’s what some of you said...

“Pro-dibs. It’s hard work digging out your spot! If there was a way to assign spots — but it’d be complicated because there are many different parking needs.” — Angela Pun

“It’s been a Chicago tradition for decades, he or she may as well make it official.” — Santos Aranda

“Pro dibs. If someone shovels the snow for a parking spot, they should be able to save their spot — especially for someone who is a senior citizen. I had to help out my dad with his car he is 75 years old someone parked in his spot that wasn’t right.” — Erin Eileen

“Pro. I’ve always felt that if it’s your home, that you pay mortgage and taxes for, that you dig out a spot to park your car in then put a chair or something to claim fine. Not a dinette set.” — Jackie Waldhier

“Pro. If people shovel it out, they deserve to park there.” — Fred Nelson

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

The Latest
The girl allegedly attacked three people on the Red Line on May 10. She was charged with robbery and aggravated battery. Other girls who were involved are still at large.
Dansby Swanson and Luis Vazquez also returned from injury for the Cubs.
ComEd says the outages are mainly in Cook, Winnebago and Stephenson counties. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for nine counties in northern and northeast Illinois until midnight.
They were standing on the driveway of a home about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of South Leamington Avenue when a Nissan drove by and someone from inside opened fire.