Chicago Sun-Times

Fighting crime requires fighting our reaction to crime

- John Gaudette, Ravenswood

When crime creeps into our neighborho­ods and daily lives, we want to react with strong enough force to keep crime at bay. The solution seems simple enough. We need police to respond quickly and take needed action.

The problem is that we usually only talk about crime and violence after a surge in crime and violence. We call for strategies based on some horrific event and react instead of developing real solutions. So, one side says deeply cut funding/ restrain police and the other says add funding/let the police do their job. In the end, the community has one of two bad solutions thrust on them.

That is why those closest to the problem must lead. Spend any time in a neighborho­od facing challenges, and you will realize it is filled with courage, hope and tireless effort. With a small investment from the city, these communitie­s flourish.

The solution should balance prevention, interventi­on and enforcemen­t. Only police and tactical force, and you get short-term results. Only prevention and interventi­on, and you lose the ability to create a safe environmen­t for these programs to work.

Mayors will talk about a comprehens­ive plan for “fixing” the neighborho­od currently in the news, but they rarely follow through. Shooting happens, mayor holds press conference, community gets a bunch of cops, cops leave, area sees crime return.

Our next mayor must have experience working with communitie­s, not subverting them.

I want a mayor who has learned from what is going on in other cities instead of judging their efforts. I want a mayor who has experience developing long-term solutions in partnershi­p with those closest to the issue, not someone who thinks he is smarter than everyone else and won’t listen. I want a mayor with a vision for all of Chicago, not one who simply stokes fear.

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