The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, an exclusive membership organization for top business leaders in the city, is stepping up to try and drastically reduce the city’s gun violence.
The business group is proposing a “one table” approach to addressing gun violence with the goal of reducing homicides and shootings by about 80% in 10 years.
“We have to get away from the silos, come to the table because there’s really only one goal: and that one goal is to ensure that our communities are safe,” said Ernest Cato, a former Chicago police chief and a senior advisor for the Civic Committee’s public safety plan.
The proposed plan is broken down into five pillars: Scaling community violence intervention, hiring alumni of those intervention programs, policing and criminal justice reforms, hiring more broadly from underinvested communities and investing directly in underinvested communities.
Derek Douglas, president of the Civic Committee, said the group’s members have endorsed the proposal and the financial investments that come with pursuing it, including being committed to hiring people from underinvested communities.
“We wanted to recognize that there’ve been organizations working on this issue for many years and business is coming to the table new,” Douglas said. “We spent six months listening, learning, meeting with everybody we could, trying to understand what’s the best ways in which the business community can engage and have an impact.”
The public safety plan comes as several major companies have left the Chicago area with some citing crime as a reason.
Cato has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the city’s next police superintendent.
Cato was a finalist in 2020 for the position before it ultimately went to former superintendent David Brown. In response to how interested he is in the job, Cato said, “right now there’s an actual process that’s going on, so I think we’re gonna let that process play out.”