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Crowd Swarms To Meeting On Violence Prevention In Brighton Park

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(CBS)

roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A community meeting on violence prevention in the Southwest Side’s Brighton Park neighborhood drew more than 200 people Wednesday night to Kelly High School, 4136 S. California Ave.

As WBBM Newsrasdio’s Bob Roberts reports, the politicians on hand said they’d try to set up a meeting between the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Deering District Cmdr. David Jarmusz said Chicago Police initiatives are beginning to turn the tide in a neighborhood that has seen 21 murders so far this year, compared with 31 in all of 2011.

Neighborhood Council members said that funding for the two existing violence-prevention programs in the area have been cut under the new state budget. Instead, the council wants to double violence prevention funding for the neighborhood from $505,000 to $991,000 — with additional funding for counseling, youth mentoring, a parent patrol, renovation of Kelly Park and a new CeaseFire branch.

For two hours, those in the audience listened. Then, several speakers got up, in what was billed as a question and answer session, and said they wanted more than vague promises.

“We need the new park for the safety of our children. “We need the counselors in our schools for the safety of our children. We need to drop the gang violence in our community,” said one woman, who then began to chant, “Keep our children alive.”

After an aide to Ald. George Cardenas (12th) said renovation of Kelly Park could begin sometime in 2013, despite the lack of a local TIF district, another woman said she would not settle for vague promises and “I don’t know” answers.

“No honey. That’s not cutting the answer that I want,” she said. “Give me something now.”