At a school in one of Chicago’s most violent areas, police last night unveiled a new crime-fighting tool: a combination of religious leaders, community organizers, city officials, and teachers, reports the Chicago Tribune. The idea is to find ways to improve the social conditions that are killing young people and create alternatives for at-risk youths who might otherwise end up in gangs.
Police Superintendent Philip Cline will launch the initiative first in Roseland and Humboldt Park, and if successful broaden it to other areas with serious gang problems. In Roseland, gang violence had killed nine people through September–the most homicides of the city’s 279 patrol beats. Cline attributes the high number of deaths to the turmoil of four gangs operating in the area: the Gangster Disciples; Black Disciples; Black P Stone Nation and Four Corner Hustlers. Instead of focusing on just locking people up, he said, the Police Department is trying to lead an effort to strengthen the social fabric of the community. As a show of how seriously the police are taking the initiative, Cline brought his five top deputies.