Chi-City’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, hasn’t wasted any time in putting her ideas for enhancing the city out there. It’s no secret that one of the city’s biggest issues that we’ve been trying to combat for years is the gun violence. Much like the rest of the residents here, Lightfoot has had enough of it, which is why she has rolled out her initiative “Our City, Our Safety.”
The main goal of this initiative is to lower the number of crimes we see on a daily basis around the city. This plan went into effect shortly before Memorial Day weekend, the kick-off to summer when the violence seen in the city tends to pick up. According to the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot’s plan includes putting an additional 1,200 police officers on the streets as well as creating more programs for the city’s youth to keep them busy and off the streets. There are also plans of bringing more resources into the areas that have been known for having violence. I mean, it all sounds good, but will it actually prove to be effective?
I decided to ask some teens how they felt about the new mayor’s plans and they all overwhelming had the same response: it’s a good idea in theory, but there’s a low chance it’ll be effective. “I do think she’s trying, but seeing as though many other people (including Rahm) have tried that and it didn’t work, I think another approach is necessary,” said China Smith, 17, of King College Prep. She added, “But I do appreciate the programs that she’s trying to implement into the city. These programs will likely help the youth, but if the police aren’t trained, then what?”
Karizma Rainey, 17, of Brooks College Prep said, “I think the creation of programs is a great addition, however, we don’t need more police. We need better trained police and tolerance to teen activity.” Tiernan Perry-Stephens, 16, of Morgan Park agreed with the previous teens and said, “The youth and the police don’t really have a good track record.” He went on to explain how “a lot of kids think police have broken up their families, and forcing them together could work, but it will take time if it does, and that’s a big ‘if’.”
I think a lot of Chicagoans have hope for our new mayor and the plans and changes she has in mind, but there are other ways to go about handling the city’s violence. Throwing more police officers on the street won’t just immediately solve the problem, especially because of the high rates of police brutality against minorities (especially black people). Like Rainey said, we don’t really need more police on the streets. We need more trained police.
According to CBS News, during Memorial Day weekend, 38 people were wounded from gun violence and 7 people who were killed. In 2016 there were a reported 70 shootings and in 2015 there were 12 fatalities, so I guess you could say some improvements to these depressing statistics were made. Maybe it will take more time before we actually start seeing results, but how many more innocent lives will be taken before something is really done?
By Cierra Lemott, Junior, Brooks College Prep
Instagram & Snapchat: @cece.kodak