Shootings and homicides continue to make headlines daily in Chicago. The police do their best to implement one strategy after another to help reduce gun violence, however, the strategies are coming up short as it relates to achieving real results. New Superintendent Eddie Johnson stated that the Chicago Police Department has a list of thirteen hundred individuals that are responsible for the majority of violence in Chicago. If this list exists, then there should be some collaboration with other agencies to reach out to the people on the list and attempt to help the perpetrators secure gainful employment. There is a proven model in Richmond, California that appears to be effective by paying would-be shooters not to shoot. Some people may not agree with this approach, however, you must try something different in order to get results.
Unemployment is very high for African American youth in Chicago. The majority of young men that find themselves out of work will take to the streets as a means of self-employment. If we as leaders are serious about reducing violence in Chicago, then we must become very aggressive in regards to securing employment for the high-risk youth in the community.
The Boston Miracle yielded results in the early 1990s by engaging high-risk youth in meaningful solutions to urban violence, which led to a dramatic decrease in youth homicides. Law enforcement officials realize that we cannot arrest our way out of this epidemic of violence that plagues many cities across the United States.
In order to stop a killing, one must have a relationship with a would-be shooter in which that person will listen to reason before taking a life. This would take some serious people skills because most delinquents just commit the act and ask questions later. However, there are people in the profession of violence prevention like the Violence Interrupters that can make a breakthrough to some of the perpetrators by developing strong relationships in advance in order to detect potential acts of violence before someone pulls the trigger.
The time has come to embrace new strategies in the field of criminal justice in order to make communities safer. It would be much better to embrace a would-be shooter help them reach a higher plateau in life by stressing the need to take care of their families and providing employment as a way out of a criminal lifestyle for those who want to get out. This would be one of the only ways to at minimum reduce homicides in Chicago by thirty to forty percent.