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

A.D. Q&A with Susan Lee of Chicago CRED

Episode Summary

Chicago is poised to end 2021 with more than 800 homicides, the most violent year in a quarter century. Discussing the rising violence is Susan Lee, chief of strategy and policy at Chicago CRED – an anti-gun violence organization. CRED works with men at risk – of being shooting victims or becoming a shooter themselves. It connects them with cognitive behavioral therapy, life coaching and job opportunities, conducts street outreach to defuse conflict and broker peace agreements between rivals, and advocates for more funding for programs like theirs. Preliminary studies suggest CRED and similar organizations, like READI and Communities Partnering for Peace, are working. A Northwestern University analysis of CRED’s impact starting in 2019 shows program participants were potentially 50% less likely to be shot and and 48% less likely to be arrested. That work is, again, preliminary, but in a span of crime like Chicago’s experienced recently, it's worth doubling down on, Lee argues. A.D. Quig talked with Lee on Dec. 13 not only about her work at CRED, but also her brief time as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s deputy mayor for public safety. Lee left after a little over a year amid a rash of other high-profile exits in the city’s public safety space, and has since been critical of the city’s response to the spike in homicides and shootings. Lee talks about what she believes is driving that surge, how it compares with – and outstrips – other big cities, and what a shallow bench of public safety policymakers means, long term. Lee also discusses why she believes 2022 is a turning point year, as the city invests tens of millions in anti-violence efforts.