At a time when Chicago's association with violence is under a microscope, CeaseFire’s role under its one-year contract with the city (now at its midway point) underscores how policing is not the only solution in stopping the killings.
When Chicago’s surge in homicides garnered negative attention across the country last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy were looking for different ways to stem the unusual spike in violence.
When it was discovered that they needed something more than just new police strategies to reverse the trend, the Mayor turned to the anti-violence group CeaseFire Illinois to mediate gang conflicts in two of some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city – North Lawndale and Woodlawn.
It was an unlikely partnership considering the police have always been skeptical of a group that hires ex-offenders, many of whom have done prison time for violent crimes themselves.
Since the partnership went into effect six months ago, McCarthy has also been trying to find ways to evaluate CeaseFire success, similar to how he looks at the performance from his command staff on down.
Thursday's story in the Chicago Tribune steps back to look at the challenges, progress, and possibilities of an approach that is anything but comfortable for two of its main players -- CeaseFire, and the Chicago Police Department.
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