Emanuel unveils trades program in effort to curb violence

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CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled a new city wide trades program for Chicago Public Schools students on Monday, as he and other political leaders both here and in our nation’s capitol try to combat the startling number of shootings in Chicago this year.

Gangs and guns have flooded the streets of Chicago: six killed and 38 wounded in weekend shootings alone. The statistics since the first of the year are alarming.

The shootings amount to more than New York and Los Angeles combined.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin feels the spike in shootings could be related in part to low officer morale, as the Department of Justice investigates the police department.

“I think they’re holding back now in fear of video cameras, DNA and losing a job over a mistake they might make,” Durbin said.

Another challenge: keeping kids off the street — and in school. In Bronzeville, Emanuel spoke this afternoon at Dunbar Vocational High School, on a new trades program.

“If you’re in a gang, a lot of these kids don’t think they’re going to live to 24,” Emanuel said. “A skill, an education, a training gives you a tomorrow to live for.”

Senator Durbin met with U.S. Marshals and the FBI on Monday morning to talk about gun violence. Out of that meeting, he said they talked about other contributing factors, including a spike in heroin use, the increase in the number of neighborhood “micro-gangs,” and a large number of illegal guns funneled from Northwest Indiana into Chicago.


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