Austin violence drops between holiday weekends as BUILD, Inc. devotes funding to young people

Leah Hope Image
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
BUILD, Inc. devotes funding to young people, works to reduce violence
Austin, Chicago shootings dropped between holiday weekends, the police department said. BUILD, Inc. has been devoting funding to young people.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The renovation of BUILD, Inc. in Austin is nearly done.

But, work of the nonprofit has never stopped during the expansion. A drop in crime is, perhaps, evidence of that work.

Chicago police reported that homicides were down 64.7% and shootings were down 54% in Austin from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Citywide, during the same time, homicides down were 23.3% and shootings were down 24.9%.

"When we get the appropriate resources to do the work, we do it. Should be a surprise to no one," said BUILD, Inc. CEO Adam Alonso.

Alonso said they and partner agencies are starting to get funding they need to devote more to Chicago's young people.

"We inspire them," Alonso said. "We give them opportunities. More than anything, it's the opportunity. 'Try it. Oh, it's not for you. Great, what else are you interested in? Let's find that avenue.'"

Among the programs at Build, Music to Me shows students the business and creative sides to the music industry while giving the teens an emotional outlet.

"I've seen so many changes in them, whether that be academically, their grades are getting better. Socially, they are getting more comfortable being around people, emotionally and mentally," said BUILD, Inc. Music Coordinator Bernard Lilly Jr.

High school senior Tionne Creagh is working on her own songs and she said, thanks to BUILD, planning to major in musical theatre in college.

"I had depression anxiety, but Music to Me helped me, so I'm not as depressed and I don't have panic attacks," Creagh said. "You can come here and talk with them about your problems and they will help you solve them."

The leadership at BUILD said they are planning to continuing expanding capacity to give more young people the agency and resources to change the narrative of their own lives and their neighborhoods.