Emanuel unveils commission recs on stopping youth violence

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Tackling crime is a top priority as Mayor Emanuel seeks re-election next year.

The make tasked a multi-cultural commission to spend the last three months looking at ways to slow and reduce violent crime - which in Chicago -- has decline 28% over the last three years and has reached a nearly 50 year low.

But the public has a perception that violence by young people is exploding. So, the commission members want Chicago citizens to know that violence is preventable - not inevitable.

During a one-on-one interview with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and other key members of the commission, he talked about the recommendations from the panel members that are strategically aimed at stopping youth violence.

“We’re going to be as strong a city – throughout the city – as our neighborhood groups and our community groups and our places of worship are pulling together with the city to provide our families with the safety and the resources they need,” Emanuel said.

The commission unveiled 28 recommendations aimed at preventing youth violence through employment, health, changes in schools and more.  It includes adding eight new “peace rooms” in Chicago Public Schools staffed with parents trained conflict resolution, ensuring youth in three target neighborhoods can safely get to after school activities, expanding programs to connect Chicago police Officers and youth in positive ways and encouraging local churches to reach out to troubled youth.

One way that this commission is different from others preceding it is that panel members included about 200 young people who gave their thoughts and ideas to the adults on the commission.

But with all of the efforts to help youth and curb the violence, the general conclusion was that parents must be the first important deterrent to teens getting into trouble.

”The most important door that a child walks through both for their moral development and their education is the front door of the home,” Emanuel said.

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