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We need to act as a community to make all of Chicago safe from violence

Single initiatives, whether from the governor, the mayor or the police superintendent, won’t cure the problem.

Chicago police work the scene where a 4-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man were wounded in a shooting in the 4000 block of West Washington Boulevard in the West Garfield Park neighborhood on Aug. 6.
Chicago police work the scene where a 4-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man were wounded in a shooting in West Garfield Park on Aug. 6.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

The recent Sun-Times editorial calling for an all-hands, expert look at Chicago violence is timely and needed.

Crime in Chicago has many facets and underlying causes, exacerbated by inconsistency in our deterrence, prosecution and reporting. The answers to reducing gun violence include solving the problems of gangs and drugs, but also more. It includes education, parenting, the willingness of victims to testify, police clearance rates, state’s attorney’s prosecution that follows the law and a defendant’s criminal history, employment opportunities, mentoring, community resources, housing, health care...the list goes on and on.

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Chicago needs to bring together experts in all of these fields — not solely academics, but people who know the streets, have worked with young people in schools and are familiar with gangs and high-crime neighborhoods. We need to make all of Chicago the city it can be and has been — safe not just on the Near North Side but also on the South and West Side and downtown.

Single initiatives, whether from the governor, the mayor or the police superintendent, won’t cure the problem. We need to involve government agency leaders, yes, but more importantly, the private sector, business and union leaders, philanthropic foundations, and the communities and neighborhoods themselves. And not just City Council members but local advocates.

This team could meet weekly, and in four to six months not only have a plan, but also the resources and policy and program adjustments needed to dramatically reduce crime.

We need to act as a community and to act now. Thanks to the Sun-Times for putting forth this needed idea.

Peter Bensinger, former administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Chicago

Doing the GOP’s work

What a great time to be a Senate Republican. You can sit back in your seat and easily filibuster almost any new law proposed by President Biden.

What you can’t filibuster because of reconciliation, like Biden’s Build Back Better bill, the “moderate” Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are happy to do your Republican-style obstructionism for you.

Yes, it’s a great to be a Senate Republican, thanks to Democrats Joe and Kyrsten.

Bob Barth, Edgewater