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Community Groups Fight Crime Alongside COVID-19 In Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Fighting crime and COVID-19 – community outreach groups are now fighting two battles.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported Wednesday night, a $7.5 million award from Mayor Lori Lightfoot will certainly help those organizations.

Our CBS 2 team crunched through crime data from the time the stay-at-home order began last month to the most recent available crime stats – and found crime is down for the most part citywide. But not everywhere.

The bulk of the money from the award is going to Metropolitan Family Services, which works with and distributes money to a network of more than 10 groups to address violence.

We caught up with Deon Patrick at a gas station on Madison Street in Chicago's Austin neighborhood.

"We try and diffuse conflicts in the area," Patrick said.

His team from the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago builds connections to disrupt violence. He now finds himself part of the COVID-19 fight too.

"Some days, we are passing out masks," Patrick said. "Some days, we are passing out gloves, which are opportunities to speak to them about COVID-19."

Since Gov. JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order began, the Austin neighborhood has seen a combined 69 aggravated assaults, aggravated batteries, and homicides - the most of any neighborhood. But that is actually down more than 12 percent compared to the same time from March 20 to April 14 last year.

On Wednesday afternoon, a 21-year-old was shot in a drive-by just blocks from the gas station where Patrick was leading his outreach.

"The violence, to me, hasn't really changed," he said.

RELATED: Crime Data Shows Coronavirus Pandemic Isn't Slowing Violence Across Chicago | Chicago Crime Data Map For Past Year

But data collected and analyzed by CBS 2 shows that for the entire city, homicides are down by more than 10 percent this year compared to a year ago.

From March 20, when the stay-at-home order began, to April 14, property and sex crimes have dropped off the most.

But despite the stay-at-home order, Humboldt Park is experiencing a rise in violent crimes-up more than 46 percent.

The New City community area has seen an 86.7 percent jump from this stretch of time a year ago. Englewood has seen a rise of 50 percent.

But for Patrick, success isn't found in the numbers.

"Success, for me, is seeing these guys go to work every day," he said.

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