Strong, vibrant neighborhoods. Schools that teach all children well.
A regulatory environment that favors jobs creation and retention. These
are our priorities right now.
All three of these priorities are challenged by a recent spike in violent crimes.
It isn't just the numbers. Violence corrodes. It makes us afraid. It
makes us less tolerant. It tempts us to retaliate. It slows us down. It
For most residents, the violence is
something that is still distant enough from where they live. For others,
it's everyday life and far too close. I’d argue, though, that wherever
we live, we all want the same for our families. And, I’d argue even
more fiercely, that living together in a City creates an obligation that
we work to see that everyone can live well.
As City residents,
we should not be satisfied until every child in every neighborhood can
play outside after dinner, until every porch is a safe vantage point of a
vibrant street life, until every sidewalk is a safe promenade, until
every family can feel the same good things about where they chose live.
I was in DC this week to talk to other mayors about crime. Most mayors
offered answers that are things we already do: stress education, pay for
more job training, reduce lead poisoning, and ease prisoner re-entry.
Find community partners. Use hot spot policing, CompStat, and Real Time
Crime Centers. Task a senior staffer to coordinate the efforts of all
City departments, making every employee an extra set of eyes, ears, and
helping hands to keep neighborhoods safe. Use every tool available to
reduce crime, drive down the murder rate, and support long-term
We do that. It likely works, but violent crime is still unacceptably high. So, we must do more.
So that you know what we are doing, I have asked that every effort and
program be put in a single place, eventually on the City’s website. And
because named things are easier to talk about, the overall effort will
be called PIER, for Prevention Intervention Enforcement Re-Entry
PIER proposes short-, medium-,and long-term strategies
to make every neighborhood safe. Much of it we're already doing. Some
things are just starting. Others we will do. Some we will do if you
support them. Some ideas will cost very little. Others will cost a lot.
Some will require legislation. Most will not. Some of these initiatives
will go unremarked. Others will be widely debated.
As we proceed, I will use this forum – and Facebook
and other platforms – to catch your attention and gauge your reaction.
I will post the PIER plan in readable-sized chunks on the City’s
website. And I will highlight new ideas whenever they come up.
First different idea: a revived Crime Commission. Kansas City has one;
St. Louis had one 50 years ago. The theory is this: unless we involve
everyone in the Plan and its initiatives, we haven’t involved enough
people to reduce crime.
The new Commission on Violent Crime will
oversee the implementation of the PIER plan, to gather public input for
the plan, and to recommend new public safety initiatives for my
consideration. The Commission will seek input from aldermen, the Office
of the Circuit Attorney, state court judges, federal law enforcement
officials, and the state Attorney General’s office.
That's a starting point.