For nearly a decade WCRJ has held critical conversations with tens of thousands of local community members impacted by anti-Black policing, to learn more about their visions of what real public safety could look like in their own neighborhoods, on their own terms. Through these powerful exchanges, Chicago residents have resoundingly articulated a shared belief that true neighborhood safety can not be achieved through increased funding to law enforcement, but rather through inclusive public investment in programs that foster equity and opportunity for all. In particular, community members have called for a large scale expansion of human services, affordable housing, mental health resources, and youth programs, as a means to achieve universal safety and liberation in our city.
WCRJ's recent analysis of city data confirms what local communities have long attested. By investigating municipal budgets, public safety metrics, police dispatch records, and citywide human service needs, our research reveals that Chicago's exorbitant funding to local law enforcement has served to undermine public safety and exacerbate long- standing systems of racialized disinvestment, inequality, and injustice.
Guided by community perspectives and a wide range of municipal data, WCRJ has crafted an informed and strategic policy proposal to promote equitable public safety in Chicago. The three year plan calls for a series of funding reductions to the Chicago Police Department (CPD), as well as concurrent budget increases to vital social services and public health programs. The proposal also provides for a newly established Community Safety Unit to provide residents with emergency public safety dispatch services, outside of law enforcement.
In the weeks and months ahead, WCRJ will work to leverage the collective power of community behind this achievable plan to build truly safe and free neighborhoods through fair and inclusive reinvestment.