City in crisis: Study shows more than half of Chicagoans will witness shooting by age 40 

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


More than half of all Chicago residents will witness a shooting by age 40. This shocking statistic came from a newly published study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The study tracked more than 2,000 Chicagoans for 25 years and found that more than half of all black and Hispanic study participants aged 40 and younger had already witnessed a shooting incident. The average age for witnessing a shooting was 14, according to the report, with the vast majority of shootings occurring on city streets.

“We expected levels of exposure to gun violence to be high, but not this high,” study author Charles Lanfear, an assistant professor at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, told “Our findings are frankly startling and disturbing. A substantial portion of Chicago’s population could be living with trauma as a result of witnessing shootings and homicides, often at a very young age.”

JAMA researchers focused only on gun violence and framed the report to highlight racial disparities in shooting victims, despite the fact that Chicago has some of the most stringent gun restrictions in the country. The findings were published under the title: “Inequalities in Exposure to Firearm Violence by Race, Sex, and Birth Cohort From Childhood to Age 40 Years, 1995-2021.”

Chicago is joined by five other U.S. cities run by Democrats that were named among the 50 most dangerous in the world in a Numbeo report published in February. The Windy City was ranked as the 43rd most dangerous city, along with Houston (#50), Milwaukee (#40), New Orleans (#35), Oakland (#38), and Philadelphia (#46). 

Numbeo, a crowd-sourced global quality of life database, used both a crime index and a safety index to inform their rankings. 

A WalletHub study published last month found that murder rates in major U.S. Cities have soared more than 10% over the past two years, with the majority of homicides occurring in Democratic cities with soft-on-crime policies.

Democrats and the media have accused Republicans of inflating crime data for their own political purposes, but conservatives assert that Democrats have only themselves to blame.

“People feel it’s OK to shoot anyone,” a Chicago businessman told CWB Chicago Sunday following an early morning gunfight in the city’s River North nightlife district that wounded three bystanders.

“No one is afraid to use a gun. No consequences,” he said.

The remark is backed by the city’s own data portal which shows that, out of 2,603 non-fatal shooting cases logged by the Chicago Police Department between Jan. 1, 2022, and May 6, 2023, only 3.7% have resulted in arrests. The Department reported 887 murder cases within the same time period with only 275 arrests, representing a success rate of 31%.

This article was partially informed by a Just the News report.