Neighbors respond to Chatham violence: Will Daley step up?

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All eyes are on the Chatham community today following news that a neighborhood native, and off-duty police officer, Thomas Wortham was gunned down in a failed robbery attempt.

News about the brewing violence in Chatham has been a hot topic lately. Just days ago, the Chicago Tribune penned an article on a local decision to lock down basketball hoops at Cole Park following a spate of shootings. Incidentally, Wortham himself was the president of the park’s advisory council and he told the Trib, “When people think of the South Side of Chicago, they think violence. In Chatham, that’s not what we see. It’s happened, and we’re going to fix it, so it doesn’t happen again.”

Some engaged South Siders — from Sixth Ward blogger Levois to radio personalities and community groups  — contend that it’s going to take some good old fashioned community organizing to quell the violence. But Chatham residents know too well that it’s going to take more than community and police patrols. It’ll require investment in surrounding communities, which despite falling deeper into poverty and disrepair, are routinely left out of the city’s economic development strategy.  

And that has us wondering, would Mayor Daley have made some more sweeping commitments during his news conference yesterday if the same problems were closing in on say, Edison Park. Thoughts? 

  • Crack open his TIF kitty and invest in sustainable housing and quality jobs.
  • Double Chatham’s police presence to keep out the riff-raff.
  • Nothing. It’s up to the community to get a handle on the violence.
  • None of the above. He should try…


Image courtesy Flickr/krum04

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