Our Stories

Kindling Hope in a Chicago Neighborhood

You can feel the change, say residents. Police data show it, too. In just one year, crime and violence have dropped precipitously in Englewood, a Chicago neighborhood where LISC has long partnered with local leaders, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. How did it change? A concerted mix of strategic policing and community engagement, says Julia Ryan, LISC’s VP for health & safety—the very approach LISC supports in Englewood and dozens of communities across the country.

The excerpt below is from:
As shootings and homicides drop in Englewood, a new optimism grows
by Annie Sweeney, Chicago Tribune

You can see the change in Englewood in the raw numbers. You can hear about it from the Chicago police commander here, a neighborhood gas station owner or a community leader.

But if you want to feel the difference, stand in the neatly trimmed grass at 66th and Union with longtime resident Asiaha Butler, who will show you how Englewood is already a safer place for her to live.

“It’s absolutely quieter,” said Butler, who this summer converted a vacant lot on her block to a community space. “I never walked around in a fearful state, thinking I was going to be shot, but it’s a really great energy now. A great mix of active people. That is what I feel when I am in the community.”

Violence in the Englewood police district has dropped dramatically in 2017, with shootings falling 44 percent and homicides down 45 percent over 2016.

But it’s happening here in Englewood, a neighborhood whose name has long been synonymous with violence, gang warfare, poverty and despair.

During the city’s violent 1990s, the district, which includes the Englewood and West Englewood neighborhoods, emerged as a bloody territorial battleground for large street gangs such as the Gangster Disciples. Since then, those super gangs have splintered into smaller factions, changing the dynamic perhaps, but not the outcome. Since 2000, there have been more than 4,800 shootings in Englewood.

This year, however, the neighborhood is leading the city in declines in both shootings and homicides. Continue Reading [+]...