Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy checks his cellphone every morning for the latest crime notifications. The news almost always is grim.
Despite averaging 1.1 murders a day, Chicago Police reported a 17 percent decrease in killings from 2012 and the fewest murders in the city since 1965. But McCarthy isn't celebrating. "This is progress, not success," he said, "We still have way too much gun violence in this city."
Despite a drop in murder that has hit nearly a 50-year low, countless family members and friends of the 2013 Chicago murder victims don't get to reset their losses Jan. 1.
"There is no happy holidays here at the Hardmons," said Tiffany Hardmon, whose 19-year-old daughter, Ashley Hardmon, was shot to death July 2 near their Austin neighborhood home.
"[Ashley] was the very first one in the holiday season to make sure she had a Santa Claus hat," Hardmon said from her undecorated home. "I just couldn't put [only] four stockings up there this year. And I couldn't bear putting hers up ... because I couldn't bear looking at an empty stocking with her name on it."
The average Chicago homicide victim in 2013 was a 19-year-old black man, according to medical examiner's office data. August had the most killings, with 50. The least violent month was February, with 13.
On Oct. 9 in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Eddie Murphy, 21, was found dead on the sidewalk in the 600 block of North Springfield, with multiple gunshots to the head. Police said he had gang affiliations.
"I felt like I couldn't help him," said his mom, Tarinda Henderson, "If I only could have got him out of the streets and into something positive. He sold drugs. He was a drug dealer." Still, Henderson believes Murphy didn't deserve to die and was starting to change his life.
"It doesn't matter what he did; everybody gets a second chance," she said. "I feel like they don't care because he is just another black man gone, that they don't have to arrest [anyone].
"We can't send our kids off to school because we are buying caskets," Henderson said.
Source: Chicago Sun Times | MICHAEL LANSU, JESSICA KOSCIELNIAK AND SAFIYA MERCHANT, Homicide Watch Chicago