City of Chicago releases youth violence report

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 100 religious leaders, parents, youth and city staff are behind the 28 recommendations the City of Chicago released on Tuesday to address youth violence.

Recommendations from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Mayor's Commission for a Safe Chicago include adding eight "peace rooms" in Chicago Public schools for conflict resolution and connecting families with counseling. Read the 68-page report.

"This is not the end point. This is a milestone, a road map, an action plan. I really don't want to see this gather dust," Mayor Emanuel said. "I hope we take this report, not just read it, not put it on the desk, but hold ourselves accountable."

The recommendations, which will be implemented over the next year by using existing resources, are a combined approach to improve health, education, justice and youth employment and activities.

"I feel as though it is a start. We are always starting something. I'm hoping we have a finish," Pam Bosley said. Bosley, a co-founder of Purpose Over Pain, said she's been hearing about anti-violence plans without a finish since her son, Terrell, was shot to death outside a church eight years ago. She hopes the mayor's report isn't just talk.

"If we can get more people to the table, that is sincere. If it's not about money, it's about children's lives, we can make it happen," Bosley said.

Bosley and youth leader Lamar Johnson work with St. Sabina's anti-violence program. Johnson said the report is encouraging, specially a recommendation about a better relationship between police and youth. Johnson said violence will never end until the community, specifically parents, step up.

"My biggest concern is parents, lack of parental attention," Johnson said. The plan also has ideas to engage parents and connect families to services.

The 130 people behind the recommendations are encouraged to report their progress every two months and meet every six months for reviews.

The release of the report is not connected to the shooting death of 15-year-old honors student Demario Bailey over the weekend, but Mayor Emanuel said the timing shows the urgency of the situation.

Four teenagers are charged in the murder.

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