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Daley: ‘Ending the violence must be Chicago's crusade’

by Mari Fagel
Oct 21, 2009

Other highlighted programs

Police Department:

-- Increase police presence at troubled schools and on public transportation during dismissal time
-- Work harder to enforce the city’s curfew in every neighborhood
-- Work with the community policing program and Chicago public schools to launch and improve safety programs for students

Office of Emergency Management and Communications:

-- Give 911 operators the ability to receive text messages, videos and pictures, including real time photos from neighborhood safety cameras

Fire Department:

-- Provide more engines and trucks with advanced life support equipment and staff more paramedics

Chicago Public Library:

-- Launch a new media program to better connect teenagers to books, digital and computer technology

Mayor Daley challenged Chicagoans Wednesday to end what he called the code of silence when it comes to youth violence in the city.

Despite Chicago’s budget challenges, Daley says combating youth violence is the city’s main priority and unveiled several new initiatives to address the issue.

“Ending the violence must be Chicago’s crusade,” Daley said as he issued his 2010 budget proposal to the City Council. “I want us to put our city’s energy and passion into giving our children a good education, creating opportunity, protecting them and getting them on the right track in life. In this budget, we will.”

Despite $114 million in cuts elsewhere in the budget, Daley spared the Chicago Police and Fire departments from any cuts. The police department will also add 86 new officers through the use of federal stimulus money under Daley’s plan. Of the new officers, 36 will be assigned to patrol public transportation and 50 will be put on street patrol.

“Under the budget we have challenged our police department and every other city agency to do all we can to protect our children and keep them on the right track,” Daley said.

Daley showcased three new programs to address the issue.

He said the city will implement a community intervention program in three communities most at risk to youth violence. The first at-risk community identified was Englewood, which was the site of the program this past summer.

The city also will work with Cook County Juvenile Court to develop a program that will connect teens in high-risk neighborhoods with social services and mentoring programs.

Finally, the Community Policing program will launch a door-to-door campaign and expand block clubs “to act as the eyes and ears of the community, helping to keep kids safe as they go to and from school.”

“Chicago is facing an epidemic of needless violence that is killing our young people,” Daley said. “I will not rest until we have done all we can to end it.”

Under the new budget proposal, the city will also use $33 million to maintain and expand after-school, recreational, summer and education programs for Chicago’s youth.

The mayor proposed using $1.5 million from the lease of the city’s parking meters to expand these programs and serve an additional 1,500 kids between the ages of 6 and 18. He wants to use an additional $1 million from the lease deal to create a year-round after-school jobs program for 500 teens. The mayor also proposed spending $8 million in federal money to expand Headstart, an early education program for low income families.

“Unlike other cities, who have been forced to cut after-school and summer programs,” Daley said, “Chicago is not only maintaining its existing youth programs, but expanding them.”