Op-Ed Chicago Tribune May 15, 2024

The people’s plan for community safety – even more needed

Read Crime Lab Faculty Director Jens Ludwig’s latest op-ed arguing that we can’t under-estimate the scale of efforts that will be needed to solve Chicago’s challenges with gun violence.

Read the full op-ed.

Statement from Crime Lab faculty director Jens Ludwig about the op-ed:

My recent op-ed in the Chicago Tribune may have unintentionally made it seem like I oppose the expansion of community violence intervention (CVI) programs. I argued that solving the problem of gun violence in Chicago will be harder than we think (certainly harder than I thought myself before I looked at the data). That’s been interpreted by some as my arguing that we should do less. That’s the opposite of what I had intended, which was reflected by the title I had originally suggested for my essay: “The People’s Plan for Community Safety — Even More Needed.” (Sadly, the general practice of newspapers is to themselves select the title that runs over an author’s op-ed).

The Crime Lab is 100 percent dedicated to supporting the expansion of CVI; that’s why we started the Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Leadership Academy to help make CVI organizations in Chicago and around the country as effective as possible. But – and this is also an important point – we can all see clearly that this is a deeply entrenched, enormously complicated social problem. All of us realize that we can’t expect any single policy to be a miracle cure. Solving the problem will inevitably require pairing whatever the city and state do to expand CVI with additional efforts to get more social good from everything else the city is spending money on, including the $2 billion spent on the Chicago PD every year and the $9 billion spent on the Chicago Public Schools. Changes in those other massive government systems would be complementary to, and (hopefully) mutually reinforce the effects of, new CVI investments.