Monday, November 30, 2020

Violence in Chicago. The Rest of the Story

Below is a screen shot from today's Chicago SunTimes, of a story about the high homicide rate in the 11th Police District of Chicago. The map shows where this district is in the city and shows that high levels of violence are mostly in the SW and NE side of the district, along with a section just East of Garfield Park.

Since 1993 when starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC)  in Chicago I've tried to help comprehensive, non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in all high poverty areas. I've maintained a database of such programs since then and developed what I call "The Rest of the Story" strategy to draw attention to programs in neighborhoods featured in local newspapers because of bad things that happen there.  

So today, I created a second graphic, using the SunTimes map, along with a screen shot from a Tutor/Mentor Program map that I launched in 2016.  It's shown below.

You can find my Chicago area map and my list of programs in this blog article.  I zoomed into the same area as shown on the SunTimes map, then created a screenshot.  On my map I show seven green icons, representing youth serving programs. Enlarge my graphic and you can see their names. 

It looks like there is only one youth organization, The Off The Street club in the lower left section and none in the upper right. There's a YMCA along Holman Avenue near Augusta, just outside of the high violence area in the NE corner of the map.  There are three programs in the SE part of the district and one to the far East.  

In 2018 I  used data from the Heartland Alliance to create a set of maps showing the number of high poverty youth age 6-17 living in each community area. The image below shows the West side of Chicago, including the 11th Police District.  There are about 9500 high poverty kids in the area  (and about 20,000 in total). The percent shown in the blue boxes represents what percent that number is of the total youth population in the area. 

I first created this report in 2011, so the numbers shown in yellow boxes are from then. The blue boxes are from 2018, thus you can see changes in population.

Last month I posted a story using the map at the left, emphasizing that commuters using Chicago's expressways or trains to come and go from the LOOP to the suburbs are riding right past high poverty neighborhoods.  

I've long encouraged people in these areas to work together to build public awareness campaigns that would motivate these people to spend time getting to know about the neighborhood, and its need for youth serving organizations, and showing the ones that already exist.  Then pick one or two and make a long-term commitment to help them be the best in the world at helping kids through school and into jobs.

Below is a map story created in the mid 1990s for a group on the West side of Chicago. I've highlighted in yellow the section where I encouraged them to set up a campaign along Grand Avenue that would attract commuter volunteers.  I've been preaching this story for many years.

However, too few have ever seen my map-stories or my blog.  Yet, youth from schools all over the Chicago region could be creating "Rest of the Story" strategy, following negative news they see in the local media.  In publishing their stories they could be adding their "call to action" to my own and those of others, resulting in greater visibility, and a greater flow of dollars to help youth programs grow where they are most needed.

The Mayor, the Police Department, local politicians, businesses, faith groups, universities, etc. all could have been doing this for the past 25 years.

If they had, maybe the story about the 11th Police District in today's paper would have been different.

If they start now, maybe those stories will be different in 10 or 20 years.

I'd be happy to help anyone think through this strategy.  I'm on Twitter and these social media platforms.  

If you value the stories and program list that I share please consider a small year-end contribution.  Click here to learn more. 

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