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Jobs Not Cops: Fighting Gun Violence With Economics

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Jamie Hibdon for WBEZ

During summer holiday weekends, the Chicago Police Department increases the number of officers on the streets, but the tactic does not always contain violence. Over the July 4th weekend, there were more than 100 shootings -- at least 15 of them fatal. Looking at the whole year, shootings and homicides are on a similar pace as last year. And last year was Chicago’s most violent year in two decades. Mayor Emanuel, Governor Rauner, CPD superintendent Eddie Johnson and others have been arguing that the real solution is economic opportunities for the young men at risk of getting involved with the shooting. Morning Shift talks to two guests about treating Chicago’s gun violence as an economic problem.

Chip Mitchell is WBEZ’s West Side reporter. He reported a story this month called “The Cost Of Jobs.” It led to an estimate that a jobs program big enough to take a big dent out of the city’s violence would put about 30,000 jobless Chicagoans to work and cost over a billion dollars. Phil Jackson is founder and executive director of the Black Star Project, a South Side educational reform organization that aims to eliminate the racial academic-achievement gap by involving parents and communities in the education of children. He did his own analysis a few years ago that estimates it would cost even more.

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