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Mayor Lightfoot Outlines Chicago's Plan To Combat Summer Violence

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced plans to curb crime during the summer months, the time of year when the city sees an uptick in violent crime.

The city's "Summer Safety Strategy" announced by the mayor focuses on 15 beats in the city where resources will be "flooded" in those zone to prevent violence.

Lightfoot said the 15 sites are responsible for 50% of the violence in the city.

"The city is divided up into 22 geographic districts within those districts. We have certain neighborhoods blocks that are segmented into beats. So these 15 beats are ones that we know are going to be the most challenge based upon historical crime trends," Lightfoot said.

The mayor added that it's broken up into four areas, two on the South Side and two on the West Side of the city.

"The first one is comprised of Austin North Lawndale and west, the second zone is West Garfield Park and Humboldt Park. The third is, Auburn Gresham and Greater Grand Crossing. And the fourth is South Chicago and South Shore in each zone," Lightfoot said. "We did a deep dive, to understand the conditions on the ground, the assets and opportunities."

The mayor said the plan won't solely depend on law enforcement or the fire department.

"I mean the libraries, the parks, CPS, DCFS, Chicago Department of Public Health. That's what I mean when I talk about whole of government approach," Lightfoot said.

She said this plan is new compared to previous summer safety plans.

"We look forward to having the safest summer in the history of the city of Chicago. Yes, it's a challenge, but we are up to this challenge, and we can needed if we work cooperatively together," Lightfoot said.


Despite previous plans, Lightfoot said this one will depend on other organizations and not just the police.

"Because what we were finding is, when the police department would clear an area, say for example, an open air drug market, we find support from other city partners. The minute they were gone, the trouble came back," Lightfoot said.

She said by putting a sharper focus on those resources, it will enable agencies to work differently.

"If you look at this block, who lives there? Who are the community stakeholders? How can we engage? How many young people live in that area? Are they connected up with meaningful activities," asked Lightfoot. "So, there's been a very different granular conversation, bringing in not only city resources, and community resources in a way that helps support these neighborhoods. Now this is the first time we're doing this, we're going to be monitoring our progress throughout the course of summer."

Lightfoot added that to measure the success of the initiative will come from information received on shootings and other violent crime.

"I think the measure of success is, do we stop the retaliatory shootings, but do we reach these young people? Get them into productive programming," Lightfoot said. "Those are the kind of metrics that we're going to be looking at."

Superintendent David Brown admitted that the summer of 2020 had high violent crime numbers and this new approach will help keep numbers down this year.

"Last year was a violent year. One homicide is one to many. But it was lower than 2016. That's still not satisfactory," Brown said. "Any part of the year where we have increased violence is something that we have a sense of urgency around, it's really, this whole of government approach is a response to is this is not more, law enforcement capacity, it's bringing more partners in to address some of the root causes."

Also part of the plan is what Lightfoot described as an initiative to tackle gender-based violence.

"(It) will reduce harm, and violence in homes and communities throughout our city, reduce fear and increase safety for our residents and increase, gender and racial equity and intersection that simply cannot be ignored," Lightfoot said.

She added that the city "invested $9.5 million in services for survivors of domestic violence, people will cause harm, and young people impacted by gender-based violence. My office and CPD received a federal grant from the Office of Violence Against Women in 2020 to improve CPDs response to gender based violence.

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