Hundreds of young people flooded the Loop last weekend — disrupting traffic, jumping on cars and buses, causing damage, fighting and some hurting and scaring passersby. Police said two teens were shot and fifteen arrests were made. Now downtown residents, city leaders and community organizers are looking for solutions.
Norman Livingston Kerr, the former assistant deputy mayor for public safety and now a public safety consultant and CEO of Trajectory Changing Solutions, said that peacekeepers may be one answer.
“They’re trained,” Kerr said. “They can deescalate situations. They know how to work with young people, how to talk to them, how to mediate situations before they escalate.”
According to Kerr, people with violence interrupter training from Chicago CRED and the FLIP Program (Flatlining Violence Inspires Peace) have moved temporarily from other neighborhoods to the Loop during the summer months when Chicago has witnessed similar flashmobs or “wilding” incidents downtown in the past. His vision would be to have the peacekeepers stationed proactively downtown.
“We shouldn’t have to borrow them from communities,” Kerr said. “Those communities need them to be there permanently. But the addition of a new team would be designed just to work downtown for situations like this.”
Kerr joined “Chicago Tonight” with more solutions.