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Op-ed: The ‘whole-of-government’ tack for the pandemic found success. Will it work against Chicago violence?

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Science is the secret to fighting public health emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught this lesson. And the theory behind Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s push to stop the surge of violence in the city is based on fighting it with tactics similar to some that worked in the effort to stop the coronavirus.

Lightfoot calls her latest strategy a “whole-of-government” approach to fighting crime. In truth, “whole of city” may be more accurate.

Lightfoot vividly made her whole-of-government point in a May news conference in the Chatham neighborhood. Surrounded by department heads and leaders of faith-based groups and community organizations, Lightfoot said they were “bringing everyone to the table” in the crime-fighting effort.

The idea is to focus on the 15 communities Lightfoot named in her “Our City, Our Safety” plan, starting with West Garfield Park, North Lawndale, Little Village and Englewood.

The beats experienced some of the highest concentrations of shootings and killings over the prior three years. But the city believes each “safety zone” has a requisite concentration of community assets too: churches and mosques, crime interveners and safe-passage workers.

“We know that the problems that we’re seeing are not going to be solved entirely by law enforcement,” Lightfoot said this month while announcing the first Community Safety Coordination Center to........

© Chicago Tribune

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