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READI Chicago Program in the New York Times

In the New York Times, Tina Rosenberg writes about the READI Chicago Program to help young men caught up in criminal activity find legal work. It's run by Heartland Alliance and is one of the four core strategies to reduce gun violence funded by the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

Rosenberg, who founded Solutions Journalism Network, which reports on responses to social problems, writes:

The conventional wisdom is that a young man who is part of the gang life in a violent community, standing on a corner, perhaps selling drugs, does so out of choice. On the corner he makes money. He's respected and feared. A minimum-wage job picking up trash in the park? That's for chumps and losers.

That conventional wisdom might be wrong. The reasons the young man stays on the corner might be completely different from what we imagine. He might, after all, want that park job, and want to get off the corner, but not know how.

Baten Phillips's job is to show him how.

Rosenberg also wrote an earlier piece in the Times about Cure Violence, an ongoing effort to "interrupt" street violence. It's currently in 21 cities across America, including Chicago.

Read more.

This is a story about the Community Safety and Peace and Street Outreach, Support Services and Jobs strategies of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Three bills that would make Illinois safer from gun violence

Source: The Chicago Sun-Times

As part of its "31 Bullets" series, the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board has highlighted three pieces of gun policy that are currently being legislated by the Illinois Assembly. They include:

  • An Illinois House hearing on a bipartisan bill that would allow family members and law enforcement officials to petition the courts to temporarily remove firearms from the homes of people who are a danger to themselves or others
  • A related bill in the Senate that would require that anyone who agrees to accept guns that have been removed from someone in distress sign an affidavit saying they would not return the guns without legal clearance
  • A bill to ban bump stocks and trigger cranks in Illinois has passed the Senate and is scheduled to be the subject of a committee hearing in the House


Read the full editorial, and watch the accompanying 31 Bullets campaign video.

This is a post related to the Gun Policy strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities. 

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No, It's Not a Bike Rack

Source: Chicago Tribune

What if getting a gun was as simple and straightforward as renting a Divvy bike?

A short-term art installation at Daley Plaza, The Chicago Gun Share Program, teases this very notion. The Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence commissioned the piece, working with a local ad agency to bring forth this display — The Chicago Tribune reports that artist Nicholas Berg designed the exhibit to provoke people and get them talking about gun reform.

Berg says the steel installation took four months to create and "is baseball bat-proof" to withstand any form of protest. "I saw an opportunity to take advantage of the conversation without tragedy being tied to it," he said. 

This is a post related to the Gun Policy strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities Announces 2018 Grantees


Monday, May 14, 2018


Sonya M. Lewis, 708-439-0326

Kimberly Rudd, 773-213-6325 

$850,000 in grants to 132 organizations for Summer and Fall programs

CHICAGO — For the third year in a row, neighborhood organizations in Chicago working to reduce gun violence will receive grants to help reclaim parks, streets and public areas and build community cohesion. Last week, the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (PSPC) awarded 132 grants, totaling $850,000, to fund activities this summer and fall in 19 prioritized communities. Grants range from $1,000 to $10,000.

"With each application cycle, we grow more and more impressed and inspired by the proposals, and the earnestness and eagerness with which these organizations and community residents seek to serve and support their communities," says Deborah E. Bennett of Polk Bros. Foundation, who oversees the community grants review process for the Partnership.

Over 300 community groups applied for the grants Bennett said, adding, "They were all deserving and inspiring. The movement for a safe and peaceful Chicago is alive and well in our communities. These investments are just one part of a much larger effort to reduce gun violence."

Each of the prioritized communities will have activities funded for all age groups, starting after Memorial Day and concluding on or before Halloween. Stories of these activities will be featured on the Safe and Peaceful website and, at @safepeacefulchi, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Examples of activities funded include arts programs, mentoring programs, and marches for peace.

The Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (PSPC) is a coalition of more than 30 Chicago funders and foundations who have collectively committed more than $40 million dollars to support proven and promising responses to gun violence.

The community grants, which are technically awarded by The Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities, is one component of a comprehensive strategy that also includes direct interventions with young people at risk, police reforms that are helping rebuild trust with the community and strengthen law enforcement, and gun policy reform.

The community grants began in the summer of 2016 when gun violence in Chicago was spiking.In its first year, the Fund issued 72 grants totaling $500,000. Last year, the Fund issued 120 grants totaling $850,000. 

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Two Chicago Organizations Soothe the Pain of Loss on a Celebrated Holiday

Source: Chicago Tribune

The Saturday before Mother's Day, for three years running, Tamar Manasseh has thrown a party. It's on the corner of 75th Street and Stewart Avenue in Englewood. There's a band. There's a DJ. There's a photo booth. There's a whole lot of food.

Manasseh is the founder of Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings, a 3-year-old group that sits watch and builds community in one of Chicago's most violence-plagued neighborhoods — the neighborhood where Manasseh grew up. Volunteers gather in lawn chairs, talk, listen to music and serve as a block club of sorts. They're out daily in the summer, and they take the fall, winter and spring months off. The Mother's Day party is a bit of a "We're back," as well as a chance to honor moms on a holiday that, for many, is tinged by grief and loss.

This year, in addition to music and photos and food and friendship, there will be flowers.

Flowers for Dreams, a West Loop-based florist that donates 25 percent of its profits to a different charity each month, selected M.A.S.K. as its May charity.

"It made sense to really put them on a pedestal in May," Flowers for Dreams co-founder and CEO Steven Dyme told me.

But here's the really beautiful part. Also for May, Dyme's shop offered customers a chance to buy a $15 bouquet to donate to a mom who has lost a child to gun violence, which Flowers for Dreams staffers will hand-deliver to Saturday's party.

"It's a chance to send a bouquet to a mother who may not have someone to send her flowers," Dyme said. "I don't want to overstate our impact. I'm sure it's very little. But I think what flowers do really well is let you know someone cares. Some of the moms may not be getting a lot of those signs on a regular basis, so I think it's kind of cool that we can let them know someone in the community cares."

The bouquets, 80 of them, sold out in four hours. 

Read the full story.

This is a story about the Community Safety and Peace strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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31 Bullets

 Source: The Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun-Times has launched a campaign against gun violence called "31 Bullets". It takes its name from the number of bullets manufactured each year in America, 10 billion, divided by the total population. This results in 31 bullets sold for every child, woman, and man. 

In the coming months, the Sun-Times will be announcing 31 actions and ideas for reducing gun violence. The first of these actionable ideas has been posted: An encouragement to sign the Sandy Hook Promise petition to keep guns out of schools. 

This is a post related to the Gun Policy strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Ken Griffin provides $10 million investment in Chicago safety

Improving safety and reducing gun violence requires all of us to pitch in. Today's announcement from Mayor Emanuel and Ken Griffin is another reflection of Chicago's generous spirit and sense of shared responsibility to help our city meet our challenges. This money will support key elements of a larger aligned funding strategy to make our city safer, including policing reforms, common-sense gun safety laws, expanded social services for young people at risk, and increased job opportunities in neighborhoods most affected by violence. 

We hope this extra investment in police training and reform will help build continued trust with the community and support the important work happening at the community level to reclaim neighborhoods, parks and streets, collaborate with police, and empower families. We look forward to a safer, more peaceful Chicago in the months ahead. 

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RFP seeks safe, peaceful programming ideas from Chicago communities

RFP seeks safe, peaceful programming ideas from Chicago communities


Nonprofit organizations and engaged residents are invited to apply for grants of up to $10,000 to support summer and early fall violence prevention programs

The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities ("the Fund") opens its 2018 grant application period on Thursday, March 15, calling for proposals from organizations to develop programming in one or more of 19 prioritized Chicago communities. Nonprofit organizations, that are formally or informally organized, must have annual operating budgets of no more than $500,000.

Grant applicants can apply for awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, to fund programming such as educational events, youth activities, resident leader stipends, recreational activities, residential block parties, public performances and street festivals. The application process is straightforward and grants will be awarded before Memorial Day, reflecting a rapid-response process intended to support grassroots organizations that are working with keep communities safe. The total funding pool is $850,000.

The Fund will host free, in-person sessions to review the application process and answer questions. Sessions are scheduled starting the week of March 19 at Chicago Public Library sites. Visit for details. Applicants are not required to attend a review session. Accommodations for people with special needs will be provided upon request.

The application deadline is April 17, 2018. Grant awards will be announced in mid-May, and all activities related to the grants must be completed by October 31, 2018.

Applications must be submitted online via the Grants Central portal; go to to begin. Funded programs must be held in the 19 Chicago communities prioritized for support based on data compiled by the University of Chicago Crime Lab for the highest number and rate of homicides: 

Austin, Auburn Gresham, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, West Englewood, Gage Park, East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park, Greater Grand Crossing, Humboldt Park, Lower West Side (Pilsen), New City (Back of the Yards), North Lawndale, Roseland, South Chicago, South Lawndale (Little Village), South Shore and Washington Park.

To qualify, organizations must have 501(c)3 nonprofit status or partner with an organization that has that status,and an annual operating budget of no more than $500,000.

The Fund was launched in 2016 by the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities, a coalition of more than 30 Chicago funders and foundations aligning their funding to support proven and promising urgent responses to reducing violence in the next two to three years. The Fund supports grassroots organizations to sponsor events and projects in Chicago's neighborhoods that build community cohesion and promote safety and peace. In 2017, 120 organizations received funding.

Interviews are available with:
Deborah E. Bennett, Advisory Committee Chairperson and a Senior Program Officer at the Polk Bros. Foundation
Anna Lee, Program Officer at the Chicago Community Trust
Marsha Eaglin, 2017 grant recipient and Executive Director of the Impact Family Center in Chicago's Roseland community


Monday, March 19: Legler Branch
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM session time

Tuesday, March 20: Sherman Branch
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM session time

Wednesday, March 21: Thurgood Marshall Branch
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM session time

Saturday, March 24: Little Village Branch
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM session time

Wednesday, March 28: Woodson Regional Library
6 - 7:30pm session time

To attend a session, register by clicking here.

This is a story about the Promote Community Safety and Peace strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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GAPA Recommends Community Safety Oversight Board

Following release of the Police Accountability Task Force report in April 2016, several foundations came together to support a critical next step in the reform effort – the community engagement process that would shape a recommendation for a community oversight board.

The Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) conducted an extensive community engagement process in developing its proposal for the community safety oversight system envisioned in the 2016 Task Force report. It held more than 100 meetings and other forums that were attended by thousands of Chicago residents in neighborhoods across the city. It studied police accountability systems in other major U.S. cities and consulted with national experts, to ensure that Chicago learns from the experience of others.

The foundations supporting GAPA's community engagement process made the following comment on the group's proposal:

"The principles of increased public safety and greater trust between police officers and Chicago residents guided GAPA's process and are embodied in the proposal that now becomes the focus of public discussion and debate about how best to achieve those goals. We hope that GAPA's thoughtful recommendations serve as the starting point for a robust and productive citywide debate about the best way forward."

The following were acknowledged in the GAPA report as providing financial support:

Alvin H. Baum Family Fund

Borealis Philanthropy

The Chicago Community Trust

The Field Foundation of Illinois

Irving Harris Foundation

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The Joyce Foundation

Polk Bros. Foundation

Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Woods Fund Chicago

This is a post related to the Police Reform and Community Relations strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities. 

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Illinois House Passes Gun Legislation

After emotional pleas from Cardinal Blase Cupich and a chorus of gun safety advocates, the Illinois House passed legislation this week requiring gun dealers to be licensed by the state, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The House passed other measures to raise the minimum age to purchase an assault rifle to 21, to ban the sale of bump stocks and to require a 72-hour "cooling off" period on assault rifle sales. The gun dealer licensing bill was sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk.

"This is one of the most important bills that we will vote on this session because this bill will put a huge dent in the ability of criminals, straw purchasers to get these guns and sell them to gang members who then bring them into our streets and kill people,' state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, said during a lengthy debate."

This is a post related to the Gun Policy strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Chicagoans, It's Time to Demand a Better Life

By Shari E. Runner

In the predominantly African-American communities on Chicago's South and West sides, things have been bad for far too long, and they seem to be getting worse — for those communities and for the city as a whole.

The fast-approaching March 20 primary election presents a chance for voters to demand better.

Across the city and the state, policies and trends that should make life better for everyone simply don't.

A focus on education has increased the city's high school graduation rates, but the gains are not shared equally across all schools or all communities.

According to Chicago Public Schools data, African-American boys in particular lag, with more than 37 percent failing to graduate within five years, compared with 22 percent of the general population. And in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, some schools have been underfunded and underperforming, underenrolled, and now several are in line to be shuttered.

A nationwide booming job market isn't booming for everyone. Unemployment in Illinois has been disproportionately high among African-Americans, and at 9.7 percent, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the state has one of the nation's highest jobless rates.

Police are supposed to serve and protect but instead are too often used to manage the outcomes of policies that have been detrimental to Chicago's poorest communities. For instance, drug use among black people has typically been met with policing and prison sentences for decades, devastating families and increasing poverty by creating barriers to employment for those who have been incarcerated. Now with the opioid crisis pointing a national spotlight on overdose deaths among whites (who have always used drugs at a similar or higher rate than black people have), political leaders are calling for public health approaches. That could be great news for everybody, but there are no real plans to reverse the decades of wrongheaded drug policies that fueled mass incarceration.

Meanwhile, illegal guns flood certain Chicago streets, compounding desperate conditions that already foster crime, violence and trauma. Medical clinics, mental health facilities and pharmacies in predominantly African-American communities are closing, leaving new "deserts" in neighborhoods already ravaged by decades of economic disinvestment. To add insult to injury, in Cook County an unfair proportion of the property tax burden has been shifted to such low-income neighborhoods.

It's no surprise, then, that a noticeable number of African-Americans are fleeing Chicago, or leaving Illinois altogether.

They are not the only ones. African-Americans accounted for only 10,000 of the more than 37,000 people who moved out of Illinois in 2016, and in 2017 more than 33,000 people left the state, with most of the population loss occurring in Chicago. Elected officials are entrusted with the responsibility to develop solutions and enact policies that give everyone a fair chance at a good life. But local and state leaders are failing Chicago and failing Illinois.

The problems African-American communities face are deep and daunting, and they are the enduring legacy of policies and practices that have divided the city since the Great Migration. They require strategic, comprehensive solutions that recognize this. Yet when it comes to these communities, too often we get panic-driven reactions that serve only to perpetuate negative narratives about African-Americans and negative narratives about Chicago.

The consequences of those narratives are evident in news stories that cite crime or an inconsistent public education system as reasons companies might hesitate to bring offices and jobs here, or as reasons why many who were born and bred here choose not to stay. The continuing population decline suggests that many Chicagoans feel helpless against the multiple complex factors that contribute to our city's challenges.

But Chicago is not helpless.

As a world-class city, Chicago has shown in many ways that it can deliver strategic solutions. Solving the complex problems on the South and West sides will make the city and the state better for everyone.

Like every other major undertaking that has helped make our city great, it will not be cheap, and it will not be easy. It will require fierce political will matched by serious financial investment. It will require voters to hold all elected officials accountable for finding solutions, regardless of political stripe.

Most of all, it will require a commitment that, while we cannot solve all problems at once, we will not allow our inability to do everything to prevent us from doing something. It's time to demand better.

Shari E. Runner is the president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. 

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Chicago Fighting Crime L.A.-style

Sean Malinowski was invited by Supt. Eddie Johnson to help the Chicago Police Department (CPD) create new, high-tech crime-fighting centers. Malinowski, a former lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department who adopted predictive analysis as a way to prevent shootings, was tapped to help build Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs) with the University of Chicago. At the support centers, cops and civilian analysts monitor gunshot detectors, surveillance cameras and other data to pinpoint where crimes occur and where they might happen next, according to the Sun-Times.

Malinowski oversaw the opening of the CPD's support centers in the Englewood and Harrison districts in February 2017. Four other districts — Gresham, Deering, Ogden and Austin — got the centers later in the year. Six more are supposed to open by the end of this year. As the centers opened, the numbers of violent crimes fell. Shootings in Englewood dropped 35 percent in 2017. Murders declined by 15 percent across Chicago.

Meantime, civilian analysts from the University of Chicago were flown to Los Angeles to learn how the situation rooms work there. When they returned, they worked alongside Chicago cops.

The support centers are $1.5 million rooms inside police stations. Information from ShotSpotter gunshot detectors and surveillance cameras is displayed on large monitors. Beat officers have real-time access to the information via cellphone and in-car computers, alerting them to the spot where a shooting occurred.

Cops on the street began realizing the nerve centers could tell them what was happening at a crime scene before they rolled up in their cars — or that a shooting had just occurred at an intersection blocks away from them.

As part of the new program, district commanders also encouraged officers to do more community outreach to get citizens involved after decades of mistrust, Malinowski says.

This story is about the Police Reform and Community Relations strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities. 

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Predicting Murders: CBS's 60 Minutes

The Chicago Police Department is using an experimental computer program to predict murders -- and prevent them.

Calling the results "uncanny," the department said the predictive policing computer program spits out the names of those most likely to shoot or be shot. With those names in hand, police are actively intervening and saving lives, according to CBS's 60 Minutes.

"The goal of this operation is keep people alive. That's number one. Number two, keep them out of prison or jail," said Executive Director of Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy Chris Mallette.

While the program has drawn mixed reactions in the community, Ernest Smith, whose past put him atop the program's Strategic Subject List, is being held as a prime example of what can be accomplished using it.

"I got enemies, you know what I'm saying. They don't like me, you know. I mean it's all a part of growing up in Chicago," said Smith, of the West Side.

Learn more about the program by watching the 60 Minutes segment.

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Homicides Are Down For The Year But Are Still Way Too High

Homicides are down in Chicago compared to 2016, but the city is still on pace to have more than New York and Los Angeles combined, according to year-end stories in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Tribune. In a follow-up editorial, the Tribune emphasizes the importance of continuing with police reforms. The coverage makes clear that the issues are complex and solutions are anything but simple. While community voices are frustrated by the pace of progress and fearful of continuing violence, the best hope for bringing peace and safety to all of Chicago's communities is a comprehensive approach combining more effective law enforcement, common-sense gun regulation, direct engagement with young people at risk of violent encounters, robust family services for the communities most directly affected, and greater economic investments in every neighborhood of Chicago.

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More Chicago gangs arming themselves with rifles as alliances spread conflict

The Chicago Tribune chronicles an alarming new trend in gang violence -- the use of rifles rather than handguns -- which enables gang members to shoot and kill from further away, often with more devastating consequences. The number of people in Chicago shot by rifles has risen to 140 this year, with 50 fatalities. Last year fewer than 20 were shot and just 10 were killed by rifles. According to the story, "Each gun leaves a signature on the ejected casing that police can compare with other casings from other shootings. One rifle has been linked to 13 shootings that left 21 people shot over three months."

Read the full article

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WBEZ reporting team assesses initial progress on solutions to Chicago gun violence

"Chicagoans deserve solutions to the crisis."

That's how WBEZ's Every Other Hour reporting team explains its piece assessing the initial impact of government, philanthropic, and community responses to Chicago's gun violence epidemic. While acknowledging the difficulty in measuring progress at this point, WBEZ's team says "it's important to try" given the depth of the crisis.

"This year opened with gun violence in Chicago as high as last year, when a person was shot nearly every other hour," WBEZ writes. "The rate of shootings has slowed in recent months. The year-to-date shooting victim tally, almost 3,500, is down 18 percent from last year but remains higher than any other year going back more than a decade."

The public media organization asks: "Two years into Chicago's surge in gun violence, WBEZ asks: What's being tried, is it working, and what's next."

To learn what WBEZ found, read here. And you'll find more about its "Every Other Hour" project here. 

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As shootings and homicides drop in Englewood, a new optimism grows

Chicagoans are stepping up to meet the challenge of our city's gun violence crisis. They are hosting block parties, engaging in police reform, conducting street outreach, and more. The Chicago Tribune reports that optimism is growing in Englewood. A variety of urgent responses is helping transform the neighborhood, which has long been synonymous with violence and is now leading the city in declines in shootings and homicides.

The Tribune's Annie Sweeney explores this transformation and what led to it in an article, "As shootings and homicides drop in Englewood, a new optimism grows."

You can see the change in Englewood in the raw numbers. You can hear about it from the Chicago police commander here, a neighborhood gas station owner or a community leader.

But if you want to feel the difference, stand in the neatly trimmed grass at 66th and Union with longtime resident Asiaha Butler, who will show you how Englewood is already a safer place for her to live.

"It's absolutely quieter," said Butler, who this summer converted a vacant lot on her block to a community space. "I never walked around in a fearful state, thinking I was going to be shot, but it's a really great energy now. A great mix of active people. That is what I feel when I am in the community."

Violence in the Englewood police district has dropped dramatically in 2017, with shootings falling 44 percent and homicides down 45 percent over 2016.

It's only one year, experts, cops and even residents caution.

But it's happening here in Englewood, a neighborhood whose name has long been synonymous with violence, gang warfare, poverty and despair.

Read the full article.

This is a story about the Promote Community Safety and Peace and Street Outreach and Violence Interruption strategies of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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The Unsung Role That Ordinary Citizens Played in the Great Crime Decline

Local nonprofit groups that respond to violence by cleaning streets, building playgrounds, mentoring children and employing young men have a real effect on the crime rate, says Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University. His new research suggests that people in communities where violence plummeted the most were working hard, with little credit, to address the problem themselves. It is the focus of Emily Badger's recent New York Times article, The Unsung Role That Ordinary Citizens Played in the Great Crime Decline.

Most theories for the great crime decline that swept across nearly every major American city over the last 25 years have focused on the would-be criminals.

Their lives changed in many ways starting in the 1990s: Strict new policing tactics kept closer watch on them. Mass incarceration locked them up in growing numbers. The crack epidemic that ensnared many began to recede. Even the more unorthodox theories — around the rise of abortion, the reduction in lead or the spread of A.D.H.D. medication — have argued that larger shifts in society altered the behavior (and existence) of potential criminals.

But none of these explanations have paid much attention to the communities where violence plummeted the most. New research suggests that people there were working hard, with little credit, to address the problem themselves.

Local nonprofit groups that responded to the violence by cleaning streets, building playgrounds, mentoring children and employing young men had a real effect on the crime rate. That's what Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University, argues in a new study and a forthcoming book. Mr. Sharkey doesn't contend that community groups alone drove the national decline in crime, but rather that their impact is a major missing piece.

"This was a part that has been completely overlooked and ignored in national debates over the crime drop," he said. "But I think it's fundamental to what happened."

Read the full article.

This is a story about the Promote Community Safety and Peace strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities. 

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CNN: Chicago gang members seek new lives through writing, reading memoirs

Chicago CRED (Creating Real Economic Destiny) teaches former gang members and at-risk men in their 20s who are trying to escape gang life job skills, provides intensive life and trauma coaching, and tutoring toward their high school diploma or GED. About a dozen men also are part of CRED's voluntary rehabilitation program that helps them write and read their own memoirs, as featured in this CNN story.

Dressed in a black suit, crisp shirt and neatly fitting tie, Lonnie Williams read from his memoirs, "New Steps and New Moves," which described what it was like being raised by an aunt.

"Until this day I can't decide what made me lose respect for my aunt. But between watching her snort coke and being locked in the basement the majority of my childhood, who could blame me? So I left."

Williams later moved in with his sister and struggled to get by. In his memoir, which he read to an audience that included family and friends, as well as strangers, he said, "My brother was selling crack, so I chose that as a means to survive."

After watching his uncle get sentenced to a long prison term, and having a son of his own, Williams is now part of the CRED program in hopes of finding an "honest life."

"I think about the 35 years my uncle just got," he read, pausing occasionally to look up at the audience. "Or that my son asks me, 'Dad, why you keep leaving me?' or 'Why don't you love me?' I would be speechless. Although my moves are to protect his future, I also have to remember that I'm a big part of his present. He is getting older and so am I. And to be part of the solution, I have to stop being part of the problem."

This is a post related to the Street Outreach and Violence Interruption strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Pilsen Peace March

 Safe and Peaceful Communities grantee, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, hosted a peace march in Pilsen in response to the recent shootings in their community. Over 100 participants joined the march to show their solidarity for peace. They marched from Mujeres Latinas office on 2124 W 21st Pl to the Boys and Girls Club on 2157 W 19th St. Along the way they stopped at parks and community organizations that support peace and gave speeches about their experience.

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Everyone who cares deeply about Chicago’s future can play a role.

If you are an employer, you can hire young people at risk. If you are a community leader, you can help improve police-community relations. If you are a health care provider, you can support trauma-informed care to gun violence victims. If you are a funder, you can support any one of these efforts. Whatever you do, your voice matters when you speak up in support of policies that can make our neighborhoods safer. Reach out to learn more.

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