Chicago radically expanding anti-violence program to 6 more neighborhoods

Craig Wall Image
Friday, February 2, 2024
Chicago radically expands anti-violence program
Elected, civic and business leaders announced plans to dramatically expand an anti-violence program in the city of Chicago to a total of 7 neighborhoods.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Elected, civic and business leaders announced plans to dramatically expand an anti-violence program in the city of Chicago.

The ambitious program takes what is already in place in one community and expand it into seven other neighborhoods where people are most at risk of shooting or being shot.

In the past week, the city has already seen the murder of two students outside Innovation High School last Friday and then a triple shooting outside Senn High School Wednesday night that killed one teen and wounded two more.

Thursday community and elected leaders announced a $400 million public-private partnership to expand violence intervention efforts.

"No other city in America has put together this kind of broad public-private partnership to achieve such a transformative reduction in gun violence," said Vaughn Bryant, executive director of Metropolitan Peace Initiatives.

Officials noted Chicago has seen a 31% drop in shootings over the past two years, but the two recent shootings near schools have been a sobering reality check.

"We should celebrate the progress, we should celebrate the momentum, but everybody here knows how far we have to go," said Arne Duncan, founder of CRED Chicago. "To live with that level of fear and trauma and heartbreak is unacceptable."

Community violence intervention groups currently work together to tamp down shootings in North Lawndale. The new initiative would expand that effort in the coming weeks to include six more neighborhoods on the West and South Sides.

Those on the ground hope the expansion will help them better reach people prone to violence.

"Because even if they're not listening, like you knowing them personally and being around them all their life, like even if you don't hit them right, then and there, it's going to sit on their mind they're gonna think about it down the line," said Jacques Green, Humboldt Park violence interrupter.

But despite the recent shootings near schools, Mayor Brandon Johnson is not backing down on his plan to remove all police officers from CPS schools. He said his focus will be on having officers outside schools during arrival and dismissal.

"We're not going to allow these individuals who are taking their anguish and pain out on the rest of the community. We're not going to allow them to terrorize our communities and force us to live in fear," the mayor said.

Police Superintendent Larry Snelling also pledged support and partnerships with violence intervention groups. Business and philanthropic group shave raised $65 million of the promised $100 million for the campaign.