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Violence Prevention Organizations Urge City to “Take Us to Scale.” Coalition Says Community-Based Programs Are Chicago’s Best Hope for a Safer Future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:

BRIDGET HATCH, METROPOLITAN FAMILY SERVICES
Email: hatchb@metrofamily.org

MAILEE GARCIA, HEARTLAND ALLIANCE
Email: mugarcia@heartlandalliance.org

PETER CUNNINGHAM, CHICAGO CRED
Email: petercunningham57@gmail.com

CHICAGO – Gun violence in Chicago is down significantly for the third year in a row, but the city is still closing out the year with some 500 homicides and 2,600 shootings, prompting a coalition of community organizations to urge the city to take successful violence prevention programs to scale.

“We should be both hopeful that gun violence will continue to decline thanks to everyone’s hard work and impatient that it’s not happening fast enough. Shootings and homicides remain unacceptably high and we need to take our programs to scale,” said Arne Duncan, founder of Chicago CRED, one of several violence prevention organizations in the city.

“We can see what is working, we just need to do more of it,” said Ricardo Estrada, CEO at Metropolitan Family Services. “We know the mayor is open to building on that. And we look forward to working with the new superintendent. Together we can make a life-and-death difference for people who face the potential for violence in their lives every day.”

The groups are asking the city to invest $50 million annually for violence prevention, which is about two percent of the city’s public-safety budget of $2.7 billion and a fraction of what the city, state and county spend on policing, prosecution and incarceration of shooters and health care for gun victims. The current 2020 City budget dedicates $11.5 million to violence prevention programs, which is considerably more than in 2019 but falls far short of what is needed.

The coalition, includes Metropolitan Family Services, the Heartland Alliance, Communities Partnering 4 Peace, READI Chicago and Chicago CRED.

“Each day, our participants are showing up and truly doing the hard work to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the safety of their communities,” said Eddie Bocanegra, Senior Director of READI Chicago. “What we are beginning to see is the positive impact of their commitment, as well as that of our collaborative efforts to reduce gun violence in Chicago.”

These groups are united in the belief that Chicago can and must have a bold and ambitious goal of reducing the number of shootings by about 80 percent over the next five years. An 80 percent reduction would put Chicago on par with other big cities like Los Angeles and New York, both of which have been investing upwards of $30M per year in violence-prevention programs for years.

In 2018, Chicago’s murder rate was six times higher than New York’s and three times higher than Los Angeles’. Today, Los Angeles has 1.3 million more people than Chicago but 4,000 fewer police officers, yet their clearance rate for murders in 2018 was 74 percent compared to 17 percent in Chicago.

 ABOUT READI CHICAGO

READI Chicago (Rapid Employment And Development Initiative), a program of Heartland Alliance, is an innovative response to reduce gun violence that connects people at highest risk of gun violence involvement with 18 months of paid transitional jobs, cognitive behavioral therapy and supportive services to reduce shootings and homicides, and create viable pathways to a different future.

READI Chicago Community Partner Organizations include the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, Heartland Human Care Services, Heartland Alliance Englewood Outreach, Centers for New Horizons, Lawndale Christian Legal Center, UCAN, and North Lawndale Employment Network.

Learn more at heartlandalliance.org/readi.

ABOUT CP4P

Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), facilitated by Metropolitan Family Services, is an unprecedented partnership of leading outreach and restorative justice organizations that are reducing gun violence in Chicago with a comprehensive, evidence-based, trauma-informed approach. Working with police and the public sector, CP4P is a coordinated response to the public health crisis that is gun violence.

The eight CP4P groups and their nine communities are Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO), Humboldt Park; Breakthrough, East Garfield Park; Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), West Englewood; Institute for Nonviolence Chicago (INVC), Austin and West Garfield Park; New Life Centers, Little Village (South Lawndale); Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, Back of the Yards (New City); Target Area DevCorp, Englewood; UCAN, North Lawndale. For more information, visit metrofamily.org/cp4p.

ABOUT CHICAGO CRED

Chicago CRED (Creating Real Economic Destiny) was created in 2016 by Emerson Collective, a social impact organization founded and run by Laurene Powell Jobs, along with former U.S. Education Secretary and Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan. CRED believes the best solution for ending gun violence is recruiting men most likely to be perpetrators or victims of shootings and transition them to jobs in the legal economy that pay as much or more than what they earn in the violence-plagued illegal economy. Learn more at chicagocred.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

BRIDGET HATCH, METROPOLITAN FAMILY SERVICES
PHONE: (312) 579-6541
Email: hatchb@metrofamily.org

 MAILEE GARCIA, HEARTLAND ALLIANCE
PHONE: 312-438-1604
Email: mugarcia@heartlandalliance.org

PETER CUNNINGHAM, CHICAGO CRED
PHONE: 312-636-8619
Email: petercunningham57@gmail.com

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