Sunday, November 08, 2015

Using Maps in Long-term Violence Prevention Strategy

Last week the front page story on the Chicago Tribune was about the shootings of a 9-year-old boy and an aspiring 20-year-old model.

A few weeks ago Dawn Turner Tice wrote a column in the Tribune, showing my use of maps and how political leaders could use maps in a violence-prevention strategy. Over the past few days I've pulled together a set of maps, showing examples of map-stories leaders might create.

Below are a few slides from the presentation.

This first map was created using the Interactive map section of the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, showing locations of shootings that took place in Chicago on November 2 & 3, 2015. The map shows the level of poverty, and also shows that these two shootings took place in the 31st and 36th Illinois Legislative Districts.

The Program Locator was built with features that enable you to view political districts, zip code and community area boundaries. You can also zoom into specific sections of the city to create a story related to a specific incident, like the shootings featured in the Tribune for the past week.

Below you can see a map of the Illinois State Senate District 14. The shootings took place just North of this district's boundary. The second map shows House and Senate districts in Illinois. The shootings took place in the 16th and 18th State Senate Districts, and in the 31st and 36th House Districts. Thus four different state legislators share responsibility for these shootings...or for preventing future shootings in their districts.

This next map shows Chicago Ward boundaries, which I found on the WBEZ web site. The shootings took place on the outer edges of the 17th Ward, close to the 6th Ward and the 18th Ward. I ran out of money to keep building the Program Locator in 2009. Thus, this page of Government maps does not include maps showing Wards, Cook County Government, or Chicago Police Districts.

The next slide shows that the shootings took place in the 2nd and 3rd District of the Cook County Board. I had to go to two different web sites before I found a complete list of County Board District maps. While a PDF shows the complete Cook County district, I never found a site similar to the WBEZ site showing Chicago Wards, which is interactive, meaning you can click into the map and get info for each Ward. The County Board maps provide similar information, but in PDF format. If you were trying to create a map story, like I'm doing, you'd need to go through several steps.

In many of my articles I talk about the commitment leaders need to make, and keep for many years, in order for high poverty neighborhoods have a range of needed supports for youth and families, and for those supports to stay available for 10 to 20 years. This graphic shows that commitment. Every political district should be able to identify leaders from many different sectors who show this commitment on their web sites, and through their actions.

Below is a presentation that shows these maps, which leaders can use as training materials, to help others understand and support this strategy. When Dawn Turner talked to me about how political leaders could use maps she was thinking that each Alderman would create their own maps. I don't think that is necessary. I've already piloted a map-platform with layers of information and with support from tech partners, volunteers and investors, I could upgrade that platform and make it a free tool that many leaders, including political incumbents and challengers, could use in creating their own map stories.

Violence in Chicago: Where Will We Be in 10 Years? by Daniel F. Bassill

I think this strategy applies in any city in the world where poverty is measured by miles, and where poor people live in segregated, unequal, places far from people who have the wealth and power needed to create and sustain long-term change.

That means if you're from another city and this strategy appeals to you, help me build this platform, then apply it to your own city. Don't reinvent the wheel.

Since I started creating map stories in the 1990s others have created their own program locators and map platforms. Some are far more sophisticate and user friendly than the Program Locator is. However, few were designed as tools leaders would use to understand where tutoring/mentoring programs (and similar services) are most needed, nor to help existing programs get the resources, ideas and talent each needs to become great, and then stay great over many years.

Thus, while others may have a "battleship of maps" I have a blueprint and vision for where the "battleship" needs to be going.

I hope to hear from leaders who want to create map stories and/or help me develop this capacity.

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