Mayor Brandon Johnson unveils community safety plan to address Chicago crime

ByMark Rivera and ABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, December 15, 2023
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson unveils community safety plan
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced his intention to expand community violence intervention services, access to employment, health services and housing.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has unveiled his plan to address the city's crime problem and increase community safety.

The plan, which is called the "People's Plan for Community Safety," focuses on what the mayor calls people-based and place-based efforts which he said will work to reduce the major root causes of crime. The plans touts major investments in violence and homelessness prevention.

Mayor Johnson and officials from the City's Office of Community Safety officially announced the plan at a Thursday afternoon press conference at the Kennedy King College Great Hall in Englewood.

Mayor Johnson officially announced his community safety plan at a Thursday afternoon press conference at the Kennedy King College Great Hall in Englewood.

A release from the mayor's office provided more details on the plan's two pillars for safety solution efforts:

  • "People-Based: The plan focuses efforts on Chicagoans who are most impacted by historic disinvestment and violence. This includes outreach and intervention with youth and adults of highest promise - members of our community who have been impacted by the repeated cycle of harm due to purposeful disinvestment - as well as support for victims and survivors of violence."
  • "Place-Based: To ensure a safer Chicago for generations to come, the plan focuses on addressing the root causes of violence through long-term, layered investments in key areas: education, economic opportunity, housing, health, community environment, community violence intervention and policing."

"There is a shattered sense of safety in Chicago that has been driven by decades of purposeful disinvestment in our communities," Mayor Johnson said in the release. "It is time for a new community safety approach - one that addresses the root of the problem by investing in our people and neighborhoods to secure a safer Chicago for generations to come. The People's Plan for Community Safety calls upon our entire city, and especially those most impacted by violence, to create solutions together."

The mayor announced his intention to expand community violence intervention services, access to employment, health services and housing. The plan involves identifying adults and youth of "Highest Promise" in the city in which to invest to curb violence.

"One, it looks at the opportunity that we have to invest in people who live in neighborhoods that have been historically and purposely disinvested in," Mayor Johnson said in an exclusive interview with ABC7. "These are individuals that have the greatest ability to achieve."

Mayor Johnson did not say exactly how the "high promise" adults and youths will be identified by the city, or what additional investment they will receive, but the cross-sectional violence reduction efforts are receiving major support from public and private partnerships.

SEE ALSO | Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson reflects on 100 days in office, city's challenges

"In the coming months, the business community will be working to raise important funding approximately 100 million dollars to support some of the efforts that have been described today," said Eric Smith, Vice Chair of the BMO Bank Civic Committee Public Safety Task Force.

Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling asked for communities to engage with the plan.

"We cannot do this alone," Snelling said. "We've been throwing enforcement at these issues for decades only to come out with the same result."

Snelling said new cross-department collaboration in CPD has led to an increase in robbery arrests since the summer. However, robberies are still at a five-year high, and there have been nearly 11,000 over the past 12 months, data obtained by ABC7 showed.

Auto theft and attempted auto theft doubled from the average of the last three years. Johnson was asked how he wants to address those issues for the acute crime spikes that are being seen.

"As far as car jackings and robberies, absolutely this is an immediate concern and we're already working collaboratively with the police department as well as community based organizations," Johnson said.

Johnson touted a reduction of homicides, which are down about 17% from the pandemic years' average, but still 9% higher than the average from the three years before that, when there were under 600 murders, many related to gun violence, which prompted the city's Health Department Commissioner Simbo Ige to also announce new investments.

"Through this plan we are investing in community health workers," Ige said. "People from the community guiding the response. They know the community, they work with the community to interrupt violence. We are expanding the role of public health professionals in crisis response."

Ige said they also plan to expand the role of public health professionals in crisis response.

Mayor Johnson's plan will work to activate all sectors of the city for public safety, but the specific numbers on additional crisis responders, costs or if this plan is fully funded were still not known.

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