Violence reduction initiative expands amid rising violence


It was his second day at a new job, but he didn’t make it.

Jabari Minter was felled by gun violence Aug. 29 as he and friends walked to a store in his Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.

“He was walking with some of his friends and to my knowledge someone in a van just got out and started shooting,” Minter’s mother Sonya Minter said during a peace rally Aug. 31 led by Fr. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina.

Mayor Emanuel and the Department of Justice team up with federal agents to tackle Chicago’s worst neighborhoods.

As part of the Violence Reduction Initiative, Chicago’s Police Department has added 50 additional federal agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and USMS. This initiative has shown positive results in the 7th and 11th districts which led to the expansion in other heavily crime-ridden areas.

“Our goal is to create an impact citywide by focusing on areas in our communities that [are] most susceptible to violent activity,” said McCarthy.

The initiative brings police and federal resources from several bureaus together.
Currently, FBI agents, the DEA, ATF and USMS already work with police on gang and drug related crimes and homicides. This expanded program adds more federal agents and analysts to give support and and share intelligence a press release from the Mayor’s Office said.

The collaboration will last four months.

“These agencies have been incredible partners and this decision shows their continued commitment to help expand successful crime reduction strategies here,” Mayor Emanuel said.

“These new efforts will help us make a larger impact in our work to keep gangs, guns and drugs off the streets.”

Responding to the shooting last week of a 15-year-old in West Garfield Park as she walked home from school, resident Josephine Skipper said, “This shooting is not a case of Saturday night mayhem, nor is it a child out after curfew. Now our children are not safe coming home from school in broad daylight.”

A mother who lives in the Bronzeville neighborhood said she moved her 1st grade son Boyei Parker from Roseland because it was not safe.

“Numerous times we heard shootings and there was gang violence…,” Pamela A. Wilbert said.

Wilbert said living on Martin Luther King Drive St. is significantly better, but her and her son still take safety precautions.

She walks Parker to and from school and neither of them sit on their front porch. When it gets dark outside, she tries to avoid being out for long.

Wilbert said the neighborhood has improved, but there are still blocks not too far from her home that she avoids. Without a car she has to depend on CTA and said that some days she will walk the long way to stay out of gang territory. The 43rd Green Line stop is one area she does not like.

She said that Rahm has helped make improvements and that police are doing a better job.
The violence reduction initiative will also work closely with community organizations to help see positive results.

Kids off the Block is non-profit in the Roseland community that was founded in 2003. Its founder, Diane Latiker, strives to keep youth off the streets and away from violence by providing them with programs and events.

She said adding more street officers will help, but in order to find a solution the city needs to get to the root of the problem.

“The neighborhoods our young people live in have nothing to offer,” Latiker said.
“We’ve got to invest in the young people, the ones out there no one wants to tackle like the dropout, the homeless child, the gang member, the kid who sells drugs to make it.”

She said more funding needs to go towards education and job training for the youth in order to make progress happen. Latiker said the city knows what the issue is but it only pinpoints one or two issues instead of addressing them all.

If the young people in crime infested areas are not given an opportunity or feel wanted they will continue the violence she said.

“They’re hopeless in their own eye so they create havoc in their community,” Latiker said.

(Defender/Kathy Chaney)

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