A HOLISTIC APPROACH
Law enforcement and incarceration are not the only answer. We have identified four essential components for reducing gun violence and designed them into our model.
These pillars work in concert to benefit the highest-risk men and their communities.
We empower them to define a better path for themselves, return to the legal economy, and work towards becoming leaders in their communities.
OUR GOAL: REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE BY 80% IN FIVE YEARS
The goal is ambitious. But we believe it is attainable. We are tailoring a model that has shown positive results in other cities. And the young men we work with demonstrate that they are eager to create a new story, by escaping the cycle of retribution and systemic gun violence.
THAT MEANS A 20% REDUCTION IN GUN VIOLENCE ANNUALLY.
By 2025, we see the South and West sides of Chicago with a restored sense of safety and renewed hope. Progress is being made. In both 2017 and 2018 homicides fell by 15% and are trending downward in 2019. But the pace of reductions must accelerate.
THE CRISIS WE ARE FACING
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for African American men ages 15 to 34.
Homicide per 100,000 residents in 2018
CHICAGO'S PER-CAPITA HOMICIDE RATE IS 3X HIGHER THAN LA AND 6X HIGHER THAN NYC.
Chicago is the 3rd largest city but has more homicides than New York City and Los Angeles combined.
OVER 80% OF HOMICIDES IN CHICAGO DO NOT LEAD TO AN ARREST.
One reason for this low clearance rate is that many residents of the communities most impacted by gun violence have lost trust in local law enforcement. And without trust, residents are hesitant to cooperate.
Percentage of homicides that led to arrest in 2018
Number of homicides in 2018
GUN VIOLENCE COSTS CHICAGO $3.5 BILLION EVERY YEAR.
Beyond the devastating human impact, these violent crimes also create a huge financial burden for the city, including medical, prosecution, and incarceration costs. These resources could contribute to rebuilding communities and creating opportunities, an approach that has led to impressive results in cities like Los Angeles and New York City.
NEARLY 80% OF GUN VIOLENCE TAKES PLACE IN JUST 15 OF THE 77 NEIGHBORHOODS IN OUR CITY.
Impoverished, minority neighborhoods, where residents face a severe lack of investment and opportunity, bear the brunt of the violence. A combination of factors—including shifts in housing, a collapse of the local economy, systemic imbalance in schools, and limited pathways to good-paying jobs—have led to broken neighborhoods where the illegal economy often holds more promise for young men than legal alternatives.
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TODAY MOST YOUNG MEN WANT A FIRST CHANCE.
To break the cycle of violence and create a new life. With limited access to services such as trauma-informed counseling, life coaching, and the opportunity to secure jobs in the legal economy, they often see no alternative.