CHICAGO — As the year winds down, Chicago police will likely be able to show progress reducing crime. Homicides are down, but they will top 600 again this year.
Pushing for a new approach to combat Chicago’s gun violence, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin has announced plans to seek international help by appealing to the United Nations on Thursday. Boykin said he’s going to ask the U.N. to come to Chicago to meet with minority communities.
“Look, this gun violence in Chicago is still out of control. Quite frankly, we’ve got too many young people of color who are being killed by gun violence. And of course it’s a genocide that’s not being talked about nationwide or even here in Chicago,” Boykin said.
Boykin isn’t getting specific about what exactly he thinks the United Nations can do. But he says city and state leaders must make a total commitment to eliminating poverty, proving job opportunities and improving schools.
That has been Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s approach, and he points to what he calls signs of success: new companies are hiring in Chicago, the school system is improving and the number of shootings in the Englewood neighborhood are down.
“There was a story the other day in the paper about people feeling different about what’s happening,” Emanuel said. “For all of us that know what Englewood has stood for before, it’s different and it’s the residents saying it.”
As of Wednesday morning, 814 fewer people have been shot and there have been 624 homicides in Chicago, down 15 percent compared to 734 on this date last year.
But carjackings have surged in 2017. Chicago police say they’re aggressively responding and making more arrests, but it’s a difficult problem because police say most of the carjackings involve juvenile offenders who are treated differently in the justice system.
Asked for a headline to frame the story of Chicago violence in 2017, Emanuel said the city plans on adding a thousand cops, and taking care of kids with 115,000 in after-school programs, 31,000 in summer jobs and close to 7,500 in mentoring programs.
“The goal is to make sure that we’re not only reducing gun violence, but then giving our kids access to the type of mentoring and support so that they have a different choice in life,” Emanuel said.
The mayor has his approach to dealing with gun violence — and most city leaders have bought in.