Community unites for initiative aimed at curbing violence - FOX 32 News Chicago

Community unites for initiative aimed at curbing violence

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The murder last week of a beloved teacher, killed by a stray bullet in the Chatham neighborhood, struck a nerve in the community, and prompted political, business, police and church leaders to take action, in what they are calling an emergency summit.

Wednesday they announced a new initiative aimed at curbing violence by attacking one of the chief underlying problems that contributes to it.

“We need to focus on employment and economic development if we're really gonna deal with the violence in our neighborhoods. People have to see opportunities, they have to see a different path in their lives other than the one on the street,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The goal, working with the hospitality industry, is to provide at least 500 summer jobs, and if possible another thousand, to people in this specific community.

“We want to change the culture of this community and make this community a place where our young children will be proud and protected while they are trying to negotiate the future,” said 1st District Congressman Bobby Rush, who convened the summit.

At the same time, Chicago police will continue Operation Impact, those saturation patrols targeting high crime areas.

A three year police study found the Chatham neighborhood, which comprises just three percent of the geography of the city, accounts for about 20 percent of the violent crime: murders, shootings and robberies. Just this week, seven people were shot at a laundromat. Police say their efforts have cut violence numbers in half.

“Now that's not good enough, that's really the point. We're having some success, and you hear me talking about this,” said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, “but we haven't won anything yet. We're having progress, but it's not a victory.

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