I spent time early this year with two different women, 94-year-old Josephine Regnier and 71-year-old Kathyé Dawoudi, to hear how violent crime in Chicago has affected their lives and their families.
Josephine Regnier, a World War II veteran, was outside her home in Garfield Ridge waiting for her daughter when she was attacked as she went back inside to escape the cold on December 7, 2016. A large man hit her several times, bruising her face and breaking several ribs, before fleeing the scene with her purse.
"If he had just asked me for the purse I would have given it to him. But he...why did he have to hurt me? Break my ribs and hurt my back and…why did he have to do all that? People have been so nice it makes up for the one person that isn’t so nice."
Olajuwon Claiborne, a 26-year-old construction worker, was eventually arrested and faces charges for the assault and two other, similar robberies.
There was an outpouring of support from the community after the incident. Three cameras behind Villa Rosa Pizza, where one of Regnier's daughters works as a delivery driver on the weekends, captured images of Claiborne fleeing on foot, Regnier's purse in hand. The owners offered a reward on Facebook that eventually helped apprehend Claiborne.
Regnier said she will no longer go outside by herself or answer the door if she is home alone, although her daughters hope she won't be afraid to sit outside on the porch during summer months.
Kathyé Dawoudi’s 23-year-old grandson was shot and killed at his apartment building in 2015. It was devastating for Dawoudi's family, who said her daughter still hasn't recovered from the loss of her son.
"How he died is horrible, and the most horrible thing is the ones left behind. The ones that can’t get the picture out of their mind," she said. Two of her grandson's children, Dawoudi's great-grandchildren, witnessed the death of their father.
She said she refuses to hide or let the incident stop her from living life. She gets up every morning and goes out on her own.
“I’m not going to let violence dictate me. For myself or any of my children,” she said. She packs her bags each morning and takes a bus to Mather’s, a cafe for seniors, and later swims at her local YMCA.
“No matter how much pain I have,” she said of her emotions and her physical ailments, “I keep moving…Movement and getting around and doing stuff makes me feel better.”
Read more about violence and the elderly here: Amid Chicago violence, elderly residents face fears or hole up at home