Chicago’s Killing Fields

Ouch. The tragic consequences of bad public policy combined with a toxic culture.

Chicago, effectively the capital of America’s Midwest, is hurtling toward the end of its deadliest year in nearly two decades, with more than 750 murders and 3,500 shootings.

By comparison, America’s two biggest cities, Los Angeles and New York, had about 600 murders combined.

The shootings in Chicago, which spiked nearly 50 percent in 2016, were concentrated mostly in historically segregated, economically struggling and predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods.

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The department is facing a federal civil rights probe, the outcome of which could change how officers operate, adding a measure of uncertainty in the new year.

The force already has difficulties dealing with a wary African-American population. Some do not cooperate in murder investigations out of fear of retribution or distrust of police.

The department solved only about a third of the murders committed in 2016.