Crime Lab How to End the Cycle of Violence in Chicago

New York Times / September 13, 2018
By David Kirp

CHICAGO — Wrong place, wrong time — “I was shot nine times,” a teenager, whom I’ll call J.B. to protect his safety, told me. “I got shot because they had a gun and they wanted to do something.” Somehow he survived.

Drive-by shootings are commonplace in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, where the homicide rate rivals that of the world’s most murderous cities. One boy arrested for having a gun was asked why he carried it. “You need to be ready to defend yourself,” he said. “Two of my friends were shot. It was a drive-by, turf war.”

Violence often generates violence, but not in J.B.’s case. “I don’t think about the retaliation anymore,” he said.

J.B. is one of about 800 young people who, based on their history, have been assessed as at the greatest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence. In a program called C2C, for Choose to Change, they get support, mentoring and therapy to disrupt this deadly cycle.

13 September 2018