Johnson launches community safety plan focused on investing in at-risk areas on South and West Sides
Mayor Brandon Johnson announced the community-led initiative would focus on “harnessing the full force of government, community organizations, businesses, the philanthropic community and youth and faith leaders to solve decades-long problems in a new and bold way.”
Mayor Brandon Johnson on Thursday launched a community safety plan centered around investing in at-risk areas, an initiative he said would be “people-based and place-based.”
Johnson, joined by members of the City Council, community leaders and Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling, announced the community-led initiative would focus on “harnessing the full force of government, community organizations, businesses, the philanthropic community and youth and faith leaders to solve decades-long problems in a new and bold way.”
“Isn’t it about time that we do what safe communities around this country have done, which is to invest in people?” Johnson said at a press conference in Englewood. “Everyone has a role to play and making sure that our communities are fully supported.”
The plan will first focus on neighborhoods that “have suffered from decades of indifference or disinvestment,” Johnson said. It focuses on addressing root causes of violence through long-term investments in education, economic opportunity, community investment, violence intervention and prevention, housing and policing.
Eric Smith, vice-chair of BMO Harris Bank and co-chair of the Civic Committee Public Safety Task Force, said the business community will try to raise $100 million in funding for some of the plan’s programs
During his mayoral campaign, Johnson pledged to prioritize public safety and vowed to boost mental health staff responses to 911 mental health calls. He also said he would establish trauma recovery centers “in collaboration with the state government.”
Snelling said year-to-date homicides were down 12 percent, and shooting victims were down 17 percent. Still, he stressed the importance of partnership between the community, law enforcement and government to ensure the plan works.
“The community wants us to enforce the law, but they also want to be heard,” Snelling said. “In order to do that, there has to be a level of mutual respect that we have to create.”