Chicagoans deserve real community safety—a city in which every child has a fair opportunity to grow up and achieve their full potential and every resident has the resources they need to thrive. Communities that invest in their people are safe communities. Parents in towns with well-funded public schools, public parks and libraries with a lot of youth programs, and strong public health infrastructure don’t fear for their kids’ lives every time they let them out of the house. Cities with good jobs, free public transit, and free child care give residents the opportunity to provide for their families. Real community safety comes from addressing the underlying issues that lead to crime and violence. The proposals in this report would generate $12 billion in new revenue and savings that we could invest in our people and neighborhoods.
Addressing issues that underlie crime and poverty requires a commitment to Black and Brown communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides. It requires standing up to major corporations that don’t pay what they owe. It requires saying no to entrenched interests. This takes courage.
It is far easier to treat the symptoms and ignore the underlying issues. Closing mental health clinics and instead sending police to respond to mental health emergencies does not make communities safer. Slashing after-school programs and instead putting more cops on the streets to enforce anti-loitering laws puts our kids in harm’s way. Closing homeless shelters and instead criminalizing homelessness increases violence. Throwing more money at the police is easier than investing in the social safety net and public infrastructure that Chicago’s communities need. It also isn’t working.