Englewood Resident: Reducing Violence ‘Starts At Home’
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CHICAGO (CBS) – For the second weekend in a row, violence in Chicago claimed dozens of victims, as eight people were killed in 53 shootings and stabbings across the city.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine – after listening to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and others talk about reducing violence – talked to residents of Englewood about this year’s spike in murders.
One mother said cutting down on crime is not just a job for police, it “starts at home first.”
Not surprisingly, living in one of the city’s most violent neighborhoods, residents there said they’ve had enough, but cutting the amount of shootings and stabbings is not simply a matter of more police officers and smarter strategies.
Janisha Taylor comforted her daughter, Diamond, after bringing her kids back to the neighborhood where they once lived on Monday, to say goodbye to Shakaki Ashpy, a 16-year-old girl who was slain while sitting on a porch near 70th Street and Damen Avenue on Saturday.
Diamond’s tears weren’t the only ones shed this weekend.
Englewood resident Trina Billings said she was with Ashpy after the girl was shot on Saturday.
“I was rubbing her head, and rubbing her hands, telling her she was going to be alright,” she said. “When I got up the next morning, heard she died, I was crying so bad, like she was my child.”
Billings said she realized it could have been her child or grandchild who had been shot.
Taylor said that’s why she moved out of Englewood.
“It’s not a really good place to raise kids,” she said.
Sure you see some of the same things you see in all neighborhoods; people cutting grass, kids playing with hoses, sitting on their front porches, but Englewood residents know the gang-bangers are always close by.
“They have no remorse. They’ll come out here and shoot in broad daylight, while people are out here, enjoying their families,” Billings said.
Englewood District Police Cmdr. Leo Schmitz knows that.
“This is summer. … Now’s our fight,” Schmitz said. “That’s why, from this point on, we’ve got to be working harder and harder.”
Billings said Schmitz “needs to step his game up.”
“Get these guns off the streets. That’s what I would say to him. Wherever they’re coming from, get them off the streets,” she said. “No disrespect to him, because I know he do his job … we just need a little more police protection around here.”
But Ald. Edward Burke (14th) – a former cop from a police family who represents a ward that neighbors West Englewood – said it’s more than just police.
“Kids have be told that hanging out with gangs, and dealing in drugs, and acquiring firearms is not only against the law, it’s immoral,” Burke said.
The people of Englewood don’t disagree.
“It starts at home first,” Taylor said. She thinks too many families are “not raising (their children) properly, not making it where they’re supposed to be in school. These kids are out here on the streets all the time. So it’s a hard job for the police, for the mayor … if it’s not happening within your household first.”
That’s something the mayor has said too. But the sobering reality of this past weekend is that it could have been worse, as police commander said a number of retaliation attacks were prevented by the department’s new quick response strategy.