The Chicago Reporter published a column from co-authors of a UIC Great Cities Institute report on the changing nature of gang violence in Chicago and the need for policies and policymakers to adjust. The authors, which include Teresa Córdova, director of the institute and professor of urban planning and policy, and John Hagedorn, a fellow at the institute and former UIC professor of criminology, law, and justice, call for violence reduction strategies that “reinvest in and rebuild communities, reduce joblessness and poverty, and increase opportunity for African-American youth.”
Chicago needs a change in anti-violence strategies. Gangs today are not so much the cause of violence as one of the effects of distressed communities. We need to switch our focus from targeting gangs criminally to a strategy of economic and social development in high-violence African-American neighborhoods with concentrated poverty. This was our conclusion at “The Fracturing of Gangs Conference” held last year at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute. The findings are available in a new report, The Fracturing of Gangs and Violence in Chicago: A Research-Based Reorientation of Violence Prevention and Intervention Policy.