Opinion: Gun violence and crime is out of control


Yusra Jaleel

Laptop screen depicting Crime Grade’s interactive crime map of DeKalb

By Angelina Padilla-Tompkins, Opinion Editor

Trigger warning: Discussion of gun violence and mass shootings.

Whether or not you have been following the news, you have probably heard about the gun violence that has taken place in America recently. While dealing with these attacks isn’t a new issue to Americans, violence is undeniably increasing. You should be worried. 

As of Aug. 28, there have been 447 mass shootings throughout the United States since the beginning of 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This amounts to nearly 60 shootings per month and two each day. 

Some of the devastating mass shootings to hit the news recently include the Uvalde school shooting back in May, and New Orleans recently reported its “bloodiest weekend in 10 years,” where six people were killed and 12 wounded. Unfortunately, a little closer to home was the July 4th shooting in Highland Park, Chicago. 

Proposing gun control as a solution to the problem of violence is controversial in today’s political society, but it is evident that something needs to be done. Linked to gun violence is the U.S. murder and homicide rate, which increased by nearly 30 percent in 2020 – the largest increase on record. Furthermore, 75 percent of these offenses were committed with a firearm, states the CDC.

Parents need to feel safer sending their children out into the world. They need to know that should a shooter enter their school, mall, library or church, they – and those around them – will be equipped and prepared to handle the situation quickly. 

Yet, when it comes to their own communities, many parents and children don’t feel safe, and rightfully so. 

“Many children and youth remain unprotected from the violence within their communities,” expressed the Child Welfare League of America

With the beginning of the academic year, hundreds of new students are moving to Northern Illinois University for higher education. Students need to be aware of the crime in DeKalb to be prepared when traveling on and off campus. 

The overall crime grade for the city of DeKalb is a D-. This means that the crime rate is much higher than the average city, which might not be too much of a shock with the “SAFETY WARNING” emails NIU students seem to get at least once a week. 

“DeKalb is in the 9th percentile for safety, meaning 91% of cities are safer and 9% of cities are more dangerous,” reports crimegrade.org

It is imperative for students to be aware of their surroundings at all times, but especially after sundown. Always have pepper spray on your person, tell your friend your location before going out and if you ever feel endangered use the NIU safe app. 

The NIU safe app can provide you with safety notifications, request a safe walk whether it be in person or virtual, report a tip, and has the mobile blue light that alerts the police of your location and that you are endangered as soon as you press the button. 

This upward trend of violence in America is alarming and frightening. We need solutions before more innocents are hurt or killed.