For years, Chicago residents have voiced their concerns over public safety across the city.
While views on how to address public safety are divided, Mayor Brandon Johnson announced his new plan Thursday, which he says will address the root causes of crime.
Leading the effort is Garien Gatewood, the deputy mayor of community safety.
“We’ve been reactive to crime for so long,” Gatewood said. “And this is why we have over 4 million people in the state of Illinois with arrest records. If we continue to be reactive, we’ll continue to be in the same cycle.”
The plan is Johnson’s first attempt at creating what he calls a holistic approach to preventing crime, which he has long pushed for. It outlines a two-part approach: people-based and place-based.
Gatewood says a people-based approach focuses on creating resources for both victims and “youth and adults of highest promise” — the term they are using to replace “high-risk.” These resources are aimed at supporting those who have been disinvested in and caught in cycles of harm.
Place-based efforts look at the issue from a wider lens, identifying the ways in which communities need more investment. These investments are the plan’s seven pillars: education, economic opportunity, housing, health, community environment, and community violence intervention and policing.
In the process of organizing the plan, Gatewood said the administration also had to look back at what didn’t work for them.
“Mass incarceration hasn’t worked, you’ll hear CPD say that,” he said. “And I’ll also say that over reliance on the Chicago Police Department. We’ve asked them to do entirely too much. So now it’s time for other folks to understand the role that we play in safety.”
He says the solution needs to be a collaborative effort.
“We’ve partnered with the business community, philanthropic community, faith leaders, community leaders, youth, you name it, we’ve all come to the table, we really set the parameters on what we can work on,” Gatewood said.
The next steps include engaging with Chicagoans at the community level to move the plan forward.
“We’re working hand in hand with community leaders to really push the people’s plan forward,” he said.