CHICAGO- Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood is known for gun violence. But during the July Fourth holiday weekend, when the city documented dozens of shooting deaths, there was not a single shootings in the city’s South Side neighborhood.
It is thanks in part to the non-profit group Target Area Development Corp, which has been working for 20 years to find ways to make some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods safer.
Autry Phillips is the executive director. With the help of a $400,000 dollar anonymous grant, Phillips got 300 people trained in conflict resolution. 150 of them live in East Garfield Park, Humbolt Park and Englewood. The goal is to stop small problems from getting bigger. The group patrolled the streets of Englewood from midnight Friday morning to Sunday at midnight.
Extra police patrols may have helped as well but both some residents in the area say the violence is rooted in a much deeper problem. Unlike politicians, they say the issue is not too many guns, it’s too few jobs.
The money to keep people on the streets 24 hours over the weekend will run out at the end of the month. The non-profit however is hoping the success they saw this weekend will help spur more grants- so they can keep the program going.
More information on Target Area DevCorp here: http://targetarea.org/