Coalition sets out to reduce gun violence in Chicago by 20%

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A coalition of community groups are joining forces to come up with a plan to keep the peace on the streets. A firm that did a survey for the group says 15 Chicago communities experience gun violence daily, and the cost of policing health care and prosecution of those crimes add up to an estimated $3.5 billion a year.

"Twenty percent" is the battle cry of several anti-violence advocates and community groups as they challenge themselves to reduce gun violence in Chicago by 20% this year.

"We have to reinvest in our communities and really deal with some of the systemic oppression and discrimination in whether its housing, whether its union jobs," said Vaughn Bryant, executive director of cp4p.

Under the collaborative effort of Community Partners for Peace, the coalition of 15 organizations that work in 22 of the city's communities gathered Tuesday at the South Shore Cultural Center to unveil their plan, which includes violence prevention, trauma treatment, and economic investment.

"The need is too huge, but that means that the city needs to come to the table with all these partners and continue to build that strategy," said Eddie Bocanegra, of Readi Chicago. "I think it's happening."

The coalition said that although there was a drop in the number of shootings and homicides in the city, currently Chicago's homicide rate is five times the rate of New York City and three times the rate of Los Angeles.

According to CPD data, in 2019, there were 492 gun murders in Chicago, while New York City had 318 gun murders and Los Angeles had 254 gun murders.

"I can't see another child laying in the street," said Detective Vivian Williams, Chicago Police Department. "I can't have another phone call because another child had died over some senseless garbage.

"Our young men caught in the cycles of violence on the South and West sides, they are not the problem," said Arne Duncan, of Chicago CRED. "They are the solution."

Like Roseland resident Walter McGee, who fought to leave the street life.

"Going through the everyday stress of walking outside, worrying about if guys going to shoot me down," McGee said.

This year, the city of Chicago is investing more than $11 milllion in support of violence prevention programs - more than 7 times last year's amount.

"You take the same kind of neglect and abandonment that's been done and resources and investment and you do it in Winnetka, they'd have the same problem," said Father Michael Pfleger, of St. Sabina Catholic Church.

But for Bertha Purnell, who lost her son Maurice in 2017, it's a fight Chicago can no longer afford to lose.

"When a life is taken, it doesn't just affect one family, it affects the whole community," she said.

The coalition says their effort is not slight undertaking as they work to reduce gun violence in the city by 20% per year for the next 5 to 7 years. They add that any progress is positive.
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