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.
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.