Gun violence in the Chicago area and its effect on taxpayers was on the agenda at Wednesdays’ Cook County Board of Comissioners meeting, as members passed two measures aimed at the epidemic.
The Cook County Board passed an ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Richard R. Boykin, which mandates Cook County agencies to produce quarterly reports on costs related to gun violence. The ordinance specifically identifies that the state’s attorney, medical examiner, health and hospitals, and the sheriff’s office as required to comply with the mandate.
“Every time a person is shot in the county of Cook, chances are they may wind up going to Stroger [Hospital]…the total cost of stabilizing a gunshot victim from the beginning is 55,000 to 75,000,” said Boykin, 49, at the board’s Criminal Justice Committee meeting. “If there are multiple gunshot wounds the cost will increase.”
Boykin also sponsored a resolution to declare gun violence a national public health concern. Cook County is the first county in the nation to pass such a resolution, Boykin said. Both measures were passed unanimously by all commissioners present. Commissioners Jesus Garcia (7th) and Jerry Butler (3rd) were absent.
Boykin later said that he wanted taxpayers to be more aware of costs the county takes when it comes to victims, their treatment as well as the accused and any possible attorney provided to them.
Sean Morrison (17th ) also addressed the board and added that gun violence had become a suburban issue as well.
“When we have young children being shot and murdered, when we have pregnant mothers being shot and murdered, when we have fathers and sons being shot and murdered, we need to do everything we possibly can,” said Morrison, 50.
In an interview outside of the boardroom, Boykin elaborated on the issue.
“The University of Chicago Crime Lab reported a couple of years ago that the cost of gun violence to the citizens of Chicago alone was about 2.5 billion a year,” Boykin said. “When you look at the county alone not just Chicago, you are talking about five million people.”
First Deputy Chief Marlon Parks, 48, also attended the meeting and supported both measures passed by the board.
“The impact of that ordinance a lot of people don’t know…say if you were shot in Orland Park and had no insurance, you’re coming to Stroger Hospital,” Parks said. “Who pays that bill? The county does, which is fine…but there is a payment to be collected and we eat that bill.”