By SAM RAPPAPORT
The anti-violence organizations Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK) and Hyde Park-Kenwood Residents for a Safer Chicago are holding an organizational meeting this Sunday, April 3, at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (HPNC), 5480 S. Kenwood Ave., from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
The meeting is open to the public and will focus on neighborhood initiatives taking place over the summer that are aimed at curbing violent crime.
Over the past year, MASK has focused much of its work in the Woodlawn, Englewood and Washington Park neighborhoods, but recently has been branching out into Hyde Park.
High rates of violent crime continue to plague Chicago’s South and West side neighborhoods. In February, Chicago saw 43 murders, 165 shootings and 187 shooting victims, according to the Chicago Police Department. The number of murders in February 2016 has more than doubled from February 2015’s murder rate of 20.
February’s spike in violence may be attributed to the month’s unusually warm weather. The average temperature throughout February 2016 was 52 degrees, a 20-degree increase from last February’s 32-degree average.
Warmer weather has historically been correlated with higher rates of violence making summer anti-violence initiatives top priority in Chicago.
In 2015, 45 percent of Chicago’s approximately 488 murders occurred during the months of June, July, August and September.