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MAP: At Least 276 Kids 16 And Younger Have Been Shot In Chicago Since 2021

By Steven Graves and Chris Hacker

CHICAGO (CBS) — At least 276 children aged 16 and younger have been shot in Chicago since the start of last year, according to data analyzed by CBS Chicago.

That includes 43 children younger than 13, according to the data, obtained by CBS Chicago through a Freedom of Information Act request. The data include all shootings between Jan. 1, 2021, and Jan. 10, 2022.

Use the map below to explore the data by neighborhood:

In one of the latest shootings, which happened more recently than that range of dates, 8-year-old Melissa Ortega was shot and murdered at 26th Street and Pulaski Road in the Little Village neighborhood this past Saturday. When such an innocent child is murdered, a whole community mourns.

"I myself have a 7-yearold girl," said Chella Garcia, a leader in the Chicago's Little Village Community Council.

Garcia will always think twice while running an errand with her daughter.

"All the while, I also have to be shielding her from someone who might be killing her," she said.

The ripple effects of one shooting make the bigger picture all the more concerning.

Our Chicago Police data that show last year in Little Village alone, 13 children between the ages of 1 and 16 were shot.

The neighborhood ranks sixth in Chicago.

Englewood ranked first with 35 victims. Garfield Park was next with 24. North Lawndale was third with 21 young people shot.

Most of the top neighborhoods are Black and Brown communities.

"We live in a traumatized community. Everyone has PTSD," Garcia said. "There is no resources for these children to heal."

It's why the Little Village group is asking city and state leaders to build mental health clinics, arguing that can make a difference.

Dr. Maryann Mason of Northwestern University said those leaders have a valid argument. She recently conducted a study on what could contribute to youth being shot in Chicago.

She and her team looked at a spike in 2016 - directly correlating the state's budget problems at the time and how that cut funding to school activities and other anti-violence programs for youth.

"A lot of these programs alleviate stress," Mason said. "And stress is actually a risk factor for violence perpetuation and victimization."

A study from the University of Chicago's Crime Lab shows another upward slope in youth being shot.

Dr. Mason says the pandemic might be exposing more troubles.

"Until then, we'll always be stuck in this cycle," said Garcia. "This won't be the last time you guys come out here."

The call is to break the cycle so more communities don't reach a breaking point.

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