October 13, 2012

Mayor Emanuel, County President Preckwinkle Announce C.A.R.E. Initiatives To Reduce Violence And Strengthen Communities

Comprehensive Portfolio of Anti-Violence Strategies Created by Government, Business and Community Leaders

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO –Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle were joined by community and business leaders today as they highlighted activities of the Community Anti-violence and Restoration Effort (CARE) collaboration between the City and County, businesses and local communities for the prevention, intervention and response to the many risk factors that destabilize communities and contribute to violence.

“Violence is one of the most difficult and painful challenges we face as a city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “There is no simple or easy solution, but by working together with County government, business leaders and community groups, we have been adopting the best practices to address the systemic causes of violence and to ensure we are making our neighborhoods and communities safe for everyone.”

“This effort is about stabilizing our communities and making them safer places to live and work,” President Preckwinkle said. “Policing alone will not address the social issues that face our communities. Through CARE, neighborhoods and businesses are partnering with government to coordinate resources and effectively respond to violence.”

As part of the CARE initiative, a number of anti-violence and prevention strategies have launched during the past year, including “wrap-around” programs that prevent crime from returning to street corners after police clear drug markets and “One Summer Chicago,” which provide jobs and activities for children and at-risk youth.

The City of Chicago is creating three new re-engagement centers designed to return high school dropouts to the school system and adopting policy reforms to review all youth murders to determine where programs and policies could have worked to prevent the death. Cook County continues to develop community-based alternatives to detention, enhanced pre-trial services and aftercare services for juvenile ex-offenders.

The re-engagement centers will serve as a location for families and youth seeking to re-enroll in school and get access to other supportive services. Centers are starting in three communities that have experienced high drop-out rates - Garfield Park, Englewood and Little Village.

For each strategy, the City and County will jointly dedicate resources to manage the effort, seek public and private funding to test the approach, and eventually allocate funds to expand the most effective and successful strategies.

Many businesses have provided financial support and or allowed employees to contribute their professional expertise to the initiative as part of their responsibilities. These include The Allstate Corporation, Bain & Company, Burrell Communications, Civic Consulting Alliance, DLA Piper LLP (US), Ernst & Young LLP, IBM Corporation, McDonald's Corporation, N'DIGO MAGAPAPER, Perkins Coie, LLP and the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

“Safety is a basic right that must be provided to all Chicagoans” said Thomas J. Wilson, Allstate’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “It is also necessary to create vibrant, prosperous communities. The Community Anti-violence and Restoration Effort ( CARE) is designed to unite all members of our local neighborhoods to create safe and vital communities where everyone is free to prosper and enjoy our wonderful city.“

The CARE initiative focuses on the following strategies:

Community-based prevention. Promotes positive behaviors and prevents the risk factors that destabilize communities by taking action to reduce gun violence, fostering strong families, and providing more jobs.

  • Strong blocks "wrap-around" -- To prevent crime from returning after the police clear a drug market, city services will help hold the block and community members will re-build.
  • Expanded safe passage -- Community members will patrol more paths to and from school, to intervene before violence occurs or escalates.
  • Policy reforms based on youth shooting review -- "Social autopsy" of a homicide involving youth by representatives from all agencies accountable for their safety will help identify ways to prevent recurrences.

Youth intervention. Intervene with youth who are at greater risk to re-engage students in school, offer more choices out-of-school, and instill the social and emotional skills youth need to deal with stress peacefully.

  • Coordinated out-of-school programs -- Arts, science, technology, sports, and jobs offer youth positive options after school, and customized programs like One Summer PLUS serve teenagers who are typically left out of programs.
  • Specialized mentoring and family engagement -- Social-emotional learning at school helps young adults foster positive ways of relating to peers and adults; some services are tailored for those most at risk of violence involvement.
  • Alternatives to out-of-school suspension -- Alternatives to out-of-school suspension keep youth safer and help them stay engaged until graduation.
  • Student re-engagement centers -- Those who miss many days of school can find customized paths and coaching at a cross-agency collaborative.

Response. Improve response after a violent incident to distinguish high-risk segments, help low-risk defendants get services rather than go to jail, and connect offenders leaving prison to services so they don't return to crime.

  • Gang accountability (Violence Reduction Strategy) -- Police call in gang leaders, offering social services and threatening "zero tolerance" policy if one of their members kills anyone.
  • Community-based alternatives to detention -- Expanded programs will keep low-risk people out of jail, allow them to stay connected with their families, jobs, or schooling, and thus be less likely to get involved in more serious crime.
  • Enhanced pre-trial services -- Better, more reliable information will help judges supervise release more appropriately and allow low-risk defendants to return to their communities without risk to public safety.
  • Aftercare services for ex-offenders -- Immediate case management, service, and educational linkages will replace the surveillance and punishment focus of juvenile parole.

CARE is already at work in many communities.

  • The first wave of 16 “Strong Blocks” resulted in key arrests and more than 19, 000 completed service requests; fixing street lights, filling potholes and trimming trees.
  • Over 1,000 residents have participated in “wrap-around” community meetings and forums since April 2012 and 11 Community Steering Committees have been established.
  • Thirty-five CPS high schools and 223 elementary schools currently take part in Safe Passage programs. Additionally, violent incidents fell 24 percent along safe passage routes.
  • Through “One Summer Chicago” more than 168,000 summer programs for youths were available this year, including summer camps, arts and sports programs and customized summer jobs for 700 at-risk youth.
  • Chicago Police completed gang audits in every district.
  • Efforts to expand “Aftercare” services preparing juveniles for re-entry into the community.
  • More than 50 school counselors trained in “Social Emotional Learning,” which builds personal and social problem-solving skills among all students and provides additional interventions for those most at-risk.
  • To date, the Chicago business community has generously provided more than $3 million in ongoing pro-bono support to CARE planning and activation.

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