Austin Community Searches Gun Violence Solutions

Violence continues to grow after 45 people were shot, 8 of them killed, over the weekend.

The Chicago data portal has named September as the second deadliest month following July with gun violence according to the Chicago Tribune. The shootings increased the total number of shootings to 2,271 for the year following 2014’s total of 2,587. The violence in the Austin community has gotten attention from local residents and aldermen.

Residents respond to violence in the community

Ald. Chris Talaiferro believes that there are other methods to solving the crime besides more law enforcement, but believes that more after school programs are needed to help keep the streets free of negative activity. “Increasing after school activities without cost to our parents, or supporting more programs to have after school programs for our youth and young adults, that’s going to help to reduce crime as well.” Talaiferro said.

Residents are looking for solutions on how to solve the situation, including speaking with Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin. Austin resident Janet Colbert says that she and her son are upset over the violence because it is something that adults have control over.

“My 7 year old son suffers from the shock of knowing that someone was shot in front of our house. We have the control over the community, but we refused to do what is needed to be done.”

7 point plan proposed by Boykin

Boykin’s plan to help decrease the violence within the community includes:

  • parenting workshops,
  • strict enforcement of curfew laws,
  • expansion of drug courts and other therapeutic court models,
  • broader use of sheriff’s deputies in high-crime areas,
  • stiffer penalties for people illegally in possession of firearms, and an expansion of gun buy-back programs, and
  • Job training and a real jobs program for areas with high levels of violence, unemployment and poverty.

He feels that with this plan, the children in the community will have a better chance at living a better life. “Our children deserve to grow up in neighborhoods where they can thrive. They shouldn’t have to dodge bullets on the way to school or on the way from school. That is unconscionable in a civilized society.”

Gang activity a concern in the community

With gun violence comes gang activity, as Boykin puts it, is the community’s equivalent to terrorism as the community is 96 percent terrorized by gang members. He feels that if we spend money on wars, we should do the same to rid the gangs from the communities.

Over the weekend, 53 were wounded in shootings with two of them fatal according to DNAinfo. Between the months of April and September, the 15th district has recovered an estimated 26 unlawful weapons, but there is far more work that needs to be done. Ald. Taliaferro is sure that the violence will soon decrease if the methods proposed by Boykin are effective.

“There’s a host of things to do to help reduce crime. So we have to hit them from all angles and to ensure that there’s support for those who are trying to reduce crime.”

The data shows the areas in which violence occurs through the Austin community

Map of gun violence in the Austin Area                 data shows the areas in which violence occurs through the Austin community

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