Chicago Unveils Sweeping Two-Year Anti-Violence Plan

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Chicago is set to unveil a sweeping anti-violence plan that will govern public safety efforts for more than two years. The plan — “Our City, Our Safety: A Comprehensive Plan to Reduce Violence in Chicago” — was written by Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration in collaboration with several other government agencies. It will focus on five pillars, each with a series of short- and long-term goals, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. “Just as Chicago has come together to fight the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on our communities, we must do the same to address the immense challenges they continue to face due to violence of all kinds,” Lightfoot said.  The plan’s five pillars are empowering and healing people; protecting and securing public places; improving and advancing policing; affecting public policy; and planning and coordination.

Goals run the gamut from licensing law enforcement officers to expanding career and housing opportunities in the city’s poorer and more violent areas. The plan says, “Put simply, without addressing the root causes of disinvestment, poverty, and inequitable social policies, Chicago’s violence reduction efforts will fail.” Some initiatives are already in the works, while others are in the planning phase and need funding. Plans would be put into motion by May 2023, the end of Lightfoot’s term. Through Sept. 27, the city recorded 581 murders so far in 2020 — a 50 percent increase from 2019. The plan “assumes that violence is not an intractable problem but rather a public health crisis that is preventable and treatable through an intentional, coordinated, and sustained effort based on national best practices and available evidence.” The blueprint comes as the city faces a $2 billion budget shortfall. Officials would not estimate the plan’s cost. One short-term initiative is to create a pilot program in which a mental health professional would respond to a mental health situation with a police officer.

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