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Latino State News

Community Wrap-Around Strategy Creates Strong Blocks/Safe Communities

Part of Anti-Gang Strategy to Diminish the Impact of Gangs, Guns, and Drugs; Build and Sustain Economically Vibrant Communities and Strong Families

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the City’s new Strong Blocks/SAFE Communities Wrap-Around Strategy. The initiative combines targeted police enforcement with City services and community engagement.

“We have developed and implemented a comprehensive anti-gang strategy that stabilizes communities and reduces the likelihood of violence,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With strong community leadership, cross-sector commitment, and community engagement, we will continue to move forward with our goal of ending violence through creating strong blocks and safe communities.”

Four recent investigations by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) Narcotics and Gang Investigation Divisions on the West and South Sides resulted in the arrest of over 50 offenders on a variety of charges. After the takedowns, a series of successful community meetings with residents in the affected 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th districts were held to engage and mobilize nearly 200 community residents and community leaders. City service departments have already completed nearly 600 service requests, most within 48 hours of the takedown action.

“The impact on the community following these investigations is immediate and positive,” said Superintendent McCarthy.  “However, the added services provided through the Safe Blocks initiative, and the collective involvement of every concerned stakeholder will ensure lasting results in a thriving community,” he added.

Following each takedown, through the Strong Blocks/SAFE Communities Wrap-Around Strategy, the City coordinates a City services blitz that includes graffiti removal, streetlight repair, tree trimming, pothole repair, rodent abatement, abandoned property, vacant lot clean-up, trash removal, abandoned vehicles, troubled business investigations.

Community based programs work with CAPS to engage community members in a variety of support programs, including family advocacy, after school programs, ex-offender programs, drug treatment referral, job training, family counseling, and inspirational hours on the block and truancy programs. A steering committee is then formed to assign accountability for each block and ensures regular monitoring.  The Department of Family and Support Services connects community members with community and city services.

The Strong Blocks/SAFE Communities Gang Takedown and Community Wrap-Around Strategy is part of Chicago’s anti-violence plan which includes a combination of prevention, intervention, response and re-entry initiatives with the goal of reducing violence in Chicago by 50 percent by 2020.  The plan has a special focus on prevention as a long-term strategy by creating strong, self-sustaining and stable communities where violence is not perceived as either acceptable or necessary.

In addition, Chicago has recently enacted a number of public safety initiatives aimed at reducing crime including: putting more officers back into districts and on the streets to keep communities safe; introducing CompStat, a data-driven approach to fighting crime; proposing state-wide gun registration and titling; and collaborating with federal law enforcement agencies to bring in additional resources to our communities.