An 18-year-old woman in Chicago was arrested for carrying a collection of weapons in a baby stroller, in an attempt to deliver them to other criminals.
The woman, Yarisma Martinez, 18, was carrying a blue stroller through one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, Back of the Yards, when police stopped her. They asked her if she had any weapons, and she said no. Police then checked the stroller, only to find that she was carrying a handgun, a rifle and ammunition inside the stroller. The woman has no previous criminal record.
Police were suspicious because they were looking for a man they had witnessed shoot off a rifle, through a street surveillance video. The same video showed Martinez and another woman arriving at the house where the rifle was shot, and then leaving soon after with a baby stroller.
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Martinez was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon on two counts and held on $20,000 bail.The woman reportedly has no criminal record.“Here is an 18-year-old with two guns on the streets of our city,” said Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil.Parts of the Back of the Yards were called some of the most dangerous blocks in Chicago in 2016, according to DNAInfo. According to a 2013 study, around 30 percent of the neighborhood’s population lives under the poverty line.In the New City community, which includes the Back of the Yards, around one-third of residents over 25 do not have a high school diploma, and one-half of the neighborhood’s population between the ages of 20 to 24 are unemployed.“We’ve seen a structural removal of resources,” said Lurie Children’s Hospital psychologist Claudio Rivera, who lives in the Back of the Yards. “This is a low opportunity area.”
“There’s a bit of a misconception that maybe if a kid joins a gang or commits a crime or has an unexpected pregnancy or drops out of school that there’s nothing to do to help, [that] they’re hopeless,” said Rivera about the neighborhood’s cycle of poverty and violence.
“It’s like a cycle that never ends. Back of the Yards is the back yard of the city. It’s been abandoned. It’s been left behind,” said Chicago Police Department Crime Prevention Officer Rafael Yanez. “Because that area has been abandoned, the gangs have been really aggressive in recruiting.”