What Chicago Can—and Must—Learn from L.A. About Violence Prevention

Chicago CRED

Without a coordinated and holistic plan in place, Chicago’s murder rate won’t see any meaningful change, argue Arne Duncan and Kim Foxx.

At 4 million people, Los Angeles is about 50 percent bigger than Chicago. New York is more than three times its size. Yet both of those cities have murder rates that pale in comparison to Chicago’s, despite their own troubled histories of violence.

That’s not an accident, writes former U.S. Secretary of Education and Emerson Collective Managing Partner Arne Duncan in a joint op-ed with Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx published in the Chicago Sun-Times. As cofounder of the gun violence prevention organization Chicago CRED, Duncan is among those working on the frontlines of this fight: CRED identifies the young men in Chicago at the highest risk of becoming embroiled in the city’s gun violence epidemic, and provides them with wraparound social services including job training and placement.

Whereas in Chicago murder has been historically thought of as a problem to be solved through increased policing, other big cities have launched “coordinated, holistic, and publicly funded plans to dramatically reduce gun violence centered on prevention, intervention, and community coordination and support,” they write. “Historically, the response in Chicago to a violent night or weekend is to put more police officers on the streets. The presumption is to deter through police deployment, but the focus should be on prevention—and that happens before criminals become criminals.”

Together, Cook and Duncan call on city, county, state, and federal leaders to invest in “coordinated, comprehensive public health and safety resources” in communities at the highest risk for violence. “Let’s take bold, substantial action,” they write, “so that 2019 is the year Chicago makes national news for a different reason—because we’ve made our city safer and stronger.”

Read the full story here.