Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot entered office in May after rallying voters around her pledge to combat gun violence with a host of progressive approaches. Six months into her first term, an assessment of her progress by The Trace and WTTW shows a mixed bag: positive steps toward fulfilling her vision, with a new public safety office to elevate public health approaches to curbing violence, and a team of experts renowned for their work on community-based violence prevention programs and police reform. But anti-violence advocates have shown increasing impatience with decisions by Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, to rely heavily on policing and to devote fewer dollars to prevention programs than advocates say they need.
The Lightfoot interim report card is one part of a package of stories on what The Trace calls the city’s “huge undertaking” to reduce street violence. Other parts of the six-story report include an analysis comparing Chicago Police Department’s low clearance rates for shootings to its aggressive drug enforcement targeting people of color; and stories about the impact of high violence on the residents of Chicago’s hardest-hit neighborhoods, where they debate carrying guns for self defense, struggle with housing shortages affecting at-risk young men and a lack of trauma care for children exposed to violence, and seek more rehabilitation services in prisons that house Chicago teens convicted of shootings.