CHICAGO — As Chicago approaches 600 murders this year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to roll out a new anti-violence plan.
The mayor’s new multi-layered plan called “Our City, Our Safety” was put together with input from a number of different offices, agencies, community groups and faith leaders. They are working on the assumption that violence is a public health crisis that is treatable.
Lightfoot’s office is calling the three-year effort the first-ever comprehensive violence reduction plan.
There are plans to deal with violence happening now, but it also wants to use legislation at all levels and adopt policies to get at some of the root causes of violence — such as poverty, housing and unfair social policies.
It is intended to guide public safety initiatives and programming over the next three-years. Parts of the plan include building on police reforms with the hopes of building community trust.
More than 3,000 people have been killed in Chicago since the beginning of 2016, and over 12,000 people have been shot. This project aims to drastically reduce those numbers.
Norman Kerr, the Director of the Office of Violence Reduction, is very hopeful that the plan will be successful.
“I’ve been in this field for 25 years, and what I’ll tell you is that I haven’t seen this type of unity on this issue in all of my years,” Kerr said.
‘Our City, Our Safety’ is ultimately a five-point plan that emphasizes empowering and healing residents, protecting and reclaiming areas most affected by violence and improving policing.
The plan will target 15 of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods. It also calls for a future 2-1-1 helpline for people to call, and co-responder system so a mental health professional can respond with a police officer to a mental health crisis. Some of the initiatives outlines in the plan are already in the works, while other parts are being worked on and still need funding.
The mayor’s office says it will also have a violence prevention committee that will meet every six months starting in December to review progress.