Chicago holds neighborhood town halls about community safety, efforts to reduce violence

ByEvelyn Holmes and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Chicago holds neighborhood town halls about community safety
Chicago is holding neighborhood town halls about community safety and efforts to reduce violence.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Prevention and resources for neighborhoods and youth are some of the topics that came up during Mayor Lori Lightfoot's first town hall meeting on preventing violence.

"We can't give up. We have to be open to other ideas," said Precious Wright.

As a lifelong Austin neighborhood resident, Wright was among the hundreds who attended the first of six scheduled town hall meetings about community safety.

Saturday's meeting was on the city's West Side, where several neighborhoods work to combat violence every day.

RELATED: Mayor Lightfoot, NYC mayor meet to talk crime-fighting strategy

Chicago and New York mayors struggling to fight a violent crime wave held a face-to-face meeting Friday to share strategy.

"Violence is an expression of poverty," Lightfoot said "In too many areas on the West Side, we have generational poverty where there hasn't been investments in people or places in decades."

During the forum, the mayor and some members of her administration listened as residents not only asked questions but shared their concerns -- especially about the uptick in carjackings and the lack of positive resources available for teens and kids committing those crimes.

"If you don't think you are going to make it to the age of 18, what difference does it make if you go out and shoot kill... if you're hungry and don't have a roof over your head," said Dr. Phalese Binion, president and CEO of West Side Ministers Coalition.

This weekend's community meeting comes as Chicago police issue a community alert following a crime spree, including two break-ins on the West Side.

Friday morning, both a high-end shoe store and a mini-mart in the 2200-block of West Taylor Street were hit. Investigators are trying to determine if the break-ins are related.

Residents also got a chance to hear what violence prevention strategies are planned for the future as some expressed frustration over the lack of resource investment in Black and brown neighborhoods.

Troy Gaston with Black Lives Matter hopes the mayor keeps her promise.

"Today is the day that we come together to put our mind around a master plan to push back on the resistance when it comes down to the epidemic of violence in our streets today, particularly in Black and brown communities," he said.

More town hall meetings are planned in the weeks to come. The next one will be on the South Side and after that, there's one highlighting what can be done to help youth.

Here's the full list of town halls:

West Side Town Hall

Date: Saturday, March 19th

Location: Garfield Park Gold Dome Field House

100 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60624

Time: 10 AM

South Side Town Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 23rd

Location: Chicago State University's EMIL & PATRICIA A. JONES CONVOCATION CENTER


Time: 6 PM

Youth Focused Town Hall

Date: Saturday, April 2nd

Location: Harold Washington Library Center - Winter Garden

400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

Time: 10 AM

Central Region Town Hall

Date: Saturday, April 2nd

Location: Harold Washington Library Center - Winter Garden

400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

Time: 2 PM

Southwest Side Town Hall

Date: Monday, April 4th

Location: Daley College

7500 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60652

Time: 6 PM

North/Northwest Side Town Hall

Date: Tuesday, April 5th

Location: Truman College Gymnasium

1145 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Time: 6 PM

Dates and locations for the town halls can also be viewed here.