Nekenya Hardy and Les Jenkins work as violence interrupters in the Austin neighborhood. (WTTW News)

Violence prevention workers say the job begins by reaching out to young people who might one day become victims or perpetrators of gun violence and giving them guidance.

Outreach worker training with the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago (Credit: Metropolitan Peace Initiatives)

Communities Partnering 4 Peace led by the Metropolitan Peace Initiatives is one of many violence prevention efforts across the city working to address the sharp increase in gun violence that Chicago, along with other major cities, experienced during the pandemic.

Children playing at a “Light in the Night” event. (WTTW News)

Public safety isn’t just about addressing the root causes of crime or stopping people from picking up a gun. Sometimes, making a neighborhood safer is as simple as a water balloon or a bounce house.