"Things are getting ridiculous on the South Side of Chicago," said a recent high school graduate. I met a beautiful 18 year old girl visiting relatives in metro Atlanta who is from Chicago. I asked, "Is crime up there as bad as they're reporting?"
"Yes, it's very bad in my neighborhood and also in Detroit. There have been hundreds of crimes committed since school let out, mostly gang related."
"What are the gangs doing? Are these crimes drug related?" I asked.
"It's petty crimes, stealing whatever they can to sell for money. Violent crimes are also being committed in retaliation for what one gang member has done to a rival gang member.
"Parents are instilling the wrong things into their children. Twelve to seventeen year olds left on their own have turned to gang banging while school is out. Before that, my 12 year old sister was robbed of her cell phone on the way to school, and her cell phone didn't even work," said the young woman who didn't want to be identified. She lives near S. Lowe where my uncle lives.
What does this young woman think will remedy the situation? "Instilling proper lifestyles." She worries about her younger siblings "who aren't allowed to go outside for fear they'll get in the mix of crime and violence."
I asked her whether there was a Boys and Girls Club nearby, and she said, "No. Our leaders must create programs to keep kids active and off the streets."
This young woman had an innocent yet puzzled look on her face when I spoke to her. Both of us were grasping for answers. "I don't feel afraid or nervous for my own safety because I've lived there a long time and know how to stay away from certain situations, but I'm afraid for my younger brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.
"I live with this everyday, fear for their safety, but I feel it will get better."
She is maintaining her sense of positiveness amidst anxiety.