Presiding over a city in the national glare for a yearlong failure to control sharp spikes in gang shootings and gun deaths, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered a speech Thursday night aimed at convincing Chicagoans he’s getting a grip on the problem, reports the city’s Tribune. Before 300 invited guests, Emanuel announced that the city will spend millions of dollars to hire more cops and mentor more at-risk kids. For Emanuel, the speech was not only an opportunity to prescribe his treatment for fighting the violence that plagues the city, but a chance to repair his splintered relationship with African-Americans, a group of voters key in twice electing him.
Emanuel tried to seize the moment by laying out his vision to strengthen the Chicago Police Department, provide more jobs in economically challenged areas, and prevent crime by offering more hope and opportunity for young men who often turn to gangs in the city’s most violent neighborhoods. He said the gun violence “corrodes our core.” He said the city hopes to add about 970 new officers by the end of 2018. He said the city will focus on job growth in poor neighborhoods and initiate a three-year, $36 million plan to expand mentoring programs.