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Groups set goal of reducing Chicago gun violence by 20 percent in 2020

Though gun violence is worse in some areas of the city than others, they said it is important for all Chicagoans to care about solving the problem.

Arne Duncan, managing partner at Create Real Economic Destiny, speaks at South Shore Cultural Center on Tuesday.
Arne Duncan, managing partner at Create Real Economic Destiny, speaks at South Shore Cultural Center on Tuesday.
Ahlaam Delange/Sun-Times

Several community groups on Tuesday announced a goal of reducing gun violence by 20 percent in Chicago this year.

“If we are able to get to that 20 percent reduction … it means that we will have less than 400 homicides in Chicago, which is still way too many,” Arne Duncan, managing partner at Create Real Economic Destiny, said at a news conference at the South Shore Cultural Center.

Speakers from Heartland Alliance, Metropolitan Family Services and Communities Partnering 4 Peace joined Duncan at the event. They want city officials to partner with local community groups to help get guns off the street.

And though gun violence is worse in some areas of the city than others, they said it is important for all Chicagoans to care about solving the problem.

“What I commend that our mayor is doing now, is that for the first time they are recognizing that we need to appropriate dollars into specific areas,” said Eddie Bocanegra, senior director of READI Chicago. “It’s one example of how [the city] is stewarding resources, and being more creative, to bridge those relationships” with community groups.

Gun violence in Chicago has declined by 13% to 15% in each of the last three years, Duncan said. Chicago Police credit the drop to better technology and their partnership with community outreach workers and violence prevention organizations.

“We need to have every neighborhood covered, as many as possible,” said Ald. Leslie Hairston. “We should all be working towards the same goal of zero violence here in the city of Chicago.”

Besides working to reduce gun violence, Create Real Economic Destiny (CRED) also offers other assistance, such as mentoring and career development.

Walter McGee, who lives in Roseland, has worked at CRED since last October and now has a job, providing financial security for himself and his son.

“The resources they have been offering me and other participants are great,” said McGee. “CRED helps us broaden our thinking process for us … You can respond in a more positive way to give a more positive influence on the people you interact with.”