A.D. Q&A with A.D. Quig

A.D. Q&A with leaders of Chicago anti-violence efforts

Episode Summary

As Illinois lawmakers edge toward the end of spring session and head into campaign season, talk of potential bills to address a rise in crime is heating up. Democratic lawmakers, fearful of polling that shows violence is a top concern for voters, have discussed legislation cracking down on ghost guns, organized retail theft and carjacking. Gov. Pritzker’s budget includes increases to state police and witness protection, as well as grants for anti-violence programs. Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing for bills that boost funding for police, set a minimum 10-year sentence for anyone convicted of selling a gun to a felon, and automatically transfer cases of aggravated carjacking or armed robbery that involve a minor to adult court. But this week's guests – Soledad McGrath and Vaughn Bryant – are wary of knee-jerk reactions to an increase in violence. McGrath is executive director of the Neighborhood Network Initiative at Northwestern University, which has studied the outcomes of several anti-violence programs operating in Chicago. Bryant is the executive director of Metropolitan Peace Initiatives, a coordinator for many anti-violence groups. MPI is a division of Metropolitan Family Services – it focuses on helping people that have experienced the highest levels of gun violence in the city. That help involves things like violence interruption and street outreach; behavioral health and help finding jobs or getting into school; expunging criminal records; and working with cops to help them better understand the communities they police. Early analyses of these programs show some positive results. Northwestern’s analysis of CP4P, which Bryant’s group helps organize, found that fatal and non-fatal gunshot injuries among participants were 20% lower 18 months after they joined and roughly 30% lower two years after. Arrests were 17% lower two years after joining, too. This conversation explores what programs are working – including efforts to enhance community policing with the Chicago Police Department, a big upcoming test for anti-violence work in North Lawndale, and why both guests are urging patience when thinking about solutions to crime.