Report: City of Chicago’s Comprehensive Approach to Violence Prevention Among Best in Nation
The Community Justice Action Fund Ranks Chicago Third of 50 Cities for Violence Prevention Programs, Services, and Policies
CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced The Community Justice Action Fund’s inaugural City Violence Prevention Index (VPI) and scorecard ranked Chicago among the top cities in the nation for achieving the broadest range of violence prevention programs, services, and policies.
"City leaders are working directly with community members and organizations every day to identify solutions grounded in data to implement a holistic approach to violence and crime reduction," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Today's recognition is a testament to City leaders, community organizations, faith leaders, and so many others across Chicago, making our communities safer by providing programs, investments, and critical resources to our residents."
“The gun violence we’ve seen in Chicago has been devastating, but Community Justice Action Fund’s report shows that we are making some of the necessary changes to improve safety in our city for everyone,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “I am so grateful to the many community violence intervention organizations, volunteers, faith leaders and city leaders who have worked toward this goal. That important work will continue and expand with $250 million in federal community violence intervention funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden recently signed into law. I can’t wait to see the good work that is yet to come.”
The VPI scorecard assessed and ranked 50 U.S. cities with the highest incidents of gun violence in 2021 based on 35 criteria spanning three categories:
- Intervention and Risk Factor Reduction
- Addressing the Root Causes of Violence
- Local Offices of Violence Prevention
Chicago scored 75 out of 100, tying with Oakland, California. Washington, D.C., ranked first, and Richmond, Virginia, ranked second. The 10 highest-scoring cities averaged 60 out of 100 points — nearly 2.5 times the overall national average. Key findings from the report also show that 100% of the top 10 ranked cities funded outreach-based violence intervention, while only 38% of cities rated had a citywide violence prevention plan that incorporated public health strategies.
“Three years of intergovernmental collaboration to fight COVID-19 spikes across the country, protect public health, and save lives have proven that decisive action at the local level can drastically improve outcomes,” said Greg Jackson, Community Justice executive director. “Community Justice’s Violence Prevention Index was created to encourage local governments to invest in violence intervention and prevention strategies beyond policing — strategies that are evidence-based, community-led, and anchored in a public health approach. The City of Chicago has taken up the challenge and we look forward to working alongside Chicago policy makers and violence intervention organizers towards intentional investment in the strong, community-based solutions needed to reduce gun violence and improve related health outcomes, especially in Black and Brown communities most impacted by this crisis.”
The recognition comes nearly a year after Mayor Lightfoot announced the city’s first-ever Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC), a multi-agency coordination center to drive violence reduction using many of the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception, the CSCC has worked to engage residents, while coordinating resources, staff, and funding to prevent and reduce violence across Chicago.
“There is no one solution for building safer communities and reducing violence,” said Tamara Mahal, CSCC Chief Coordination Officer. “This effort must be collective, holistic, and rooted in the community. Our work through the CSCC has allowed us to hear firsthand from community members, while working closely with our partners to make real, tangible change on the ground.”
The Community Justice Action Fund hopes the report provides a comprehensive roadmap for other cities to establish violence intervention solutions and programs that are evidence-based, community-led, and anchored in a public health approach.
“We work directly with community members across Chicago every day who face the realities of violence and its impact on their communities,” said Jorge Matos, Senior Director, READI Chicago. “We are proud to be partnering with community members and violence prevention leaders here in the city, as well as the City of Chicago and national leaders like Representative Kelly and Greg Jackson to think more critically about what works and how we can keep improving on our collective efforts to create a model that we hope not only can be impactful in Chicago, but also in communities across the country.”
Among the criteria, Chicago excelled in numerous areas, including Outreach-Based Violence Intervention Programs, Youth and Family Violence Prevention Programs, Strategic Workforce Development Programs, and Victim and Survivor Services.
To learn more about the city’s efforts to reduce violence and drive community action, visit https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/cscc/home.html.
The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city in a searchable database, is available online at cjactionfund.org/vpi.