Violence Prevention Organizations Commit to New Goals

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsRepresentatives of Communities Partnering 4 Peace, which includes organizations CP4P, READI Chicago, and Chicago CRED), held a Zoom press conference on Tuesday afternoon to tackle the increase in gun violence that took place this year, a toll that has taken the lives of nearly 800 people across the City. Vaughn Bryant, Executive Director CP4P & Metropolitan Peace Initiatives, “It’s a reflection of our deeply troubled times—from COVID to economics. Gun violence is a public health crisis, and it won’t be solved until we treat it like a public health crisis,” Bryant said. His organization has research from the Northwestern Neighborhood & Network Initiative (N3) at Northwestern University showing a positive impact on communities they serve.

Eddie Bocanegra, senior director of READI Chicago said during the Zoom press conference, “We cannot downplay the cost in lives and on communities, the unaddressed trauma, and our collective struggle to contain gun violence. At the same time, we know that our work is making a difference.” He also highlighted research from the University of Chicago Crime Lab showing that the men involved in READI Chicago are much less likely to commit violent crimes or be victims of violent crime.

Last January, after three years of 13-15 percent annual declines in gun violence, CRED Founder Arne Duncan and community leaders set a goal of reducing gun violence by at least 20 percent per year for five years, which would put Chicago more on par with New York and Los Angeles. In fact, gun violence is up more than 50 percent in 2020 for both homicides and non-fatal shootings. Nevertheless, Duncan said the goal remains the same.

“Chicago’s murder rate should be on par with other big cities. Right now, we’re not even close. We have to think and act very differently,” Duncan said. He recently called for more narrowly defining police responsibilities, shrinking the department and shifting hundreds of millions of dollars from policing into a variety of community-based approaches to public safety. Next year, the total public investment from local and state sources in violence prevention programs like CRED, READI and CP4P is approaching $60 million dollars. Private funding will boost the overall investment to approximately $90 million.

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