CHICAGO (CBS) — Signs that say, “Don’t Shoot Kids At Play” seem to be working on the South Side.
When those signs went up on a stretch in Englewood, crime went down. CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker has this creative plea for peace in this Original Report.
“The sign is helping,” Kaliah Larry said. “It’s putting a message out there: if ya’ll don’t stop shooting now, how these kids gonna grow up?”
Larry walks past this sign every day to get to home in Englewood. There are three signs between 69th and 71st on Bishop, each of them with the same message.
“Before you couldn’t sit out here cause you don’t know who’s into with who and who’s gonna shoot at whom” Larry said.
Yvonne Marshall is comfortable sitting on her front porch, while her grandson plays outside the fence. She credits the signs.
“I think the size makes the whole sign stand out,” Marshall said. “We want it to ring out loud and clear.
The message is meant for the street gangs who police say are responsible for most of the shootings. Evidence it’s making a difference: last year during the Fourth of July weekend, police say there were more than dozen shootings in the area. This year: none.
“I was so happy to wake up the next morning and hear that in Englewood no one had gotten shot and killed,” Marshall said.
Increased police patrols are also a factor, according to neighbors, plus a closed door meeting between the men on the corner and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy after a four-year-old was shot a few blocks away in May.
Police like the signs and they give the community a lot of credit for helping reduce the number of shootings in the neighborhood. In addition to the signs they applaud the mothers and fathers who walked the streets last weekend, talking to teens asking them to put down their guns and let the children grow up.