Statement from Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson on recent violence in the Austin community (Chicag0, IL) – Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, a resident of the West Side community of Austin and representative of the 1st District, issued the following statement today regarding recent violent crime in his district – including three killed in a shooting last Friday night, and an attempted carjacking early Monday morning.
“Austin is where I live, and a community that I represent, but it’s also an area that has long endured the impact of generations of disinvestment. Schools have been closed, along with mental health centers, grocery stores and pharmacies, and in that wake is the constant threat of gun violence.
“This threat is a daily experience for my neighbors and I, where concerns over physical safety, and the safety of our loved ones, have both paralyzed and desensitized residents and working families. No candidate in the race for mayor of Chicago thinks about public safety more than I do. My family has taken cover in our home after hearing gunshots ring out on our block, and replaced windows hit by bullet holes. My children are ages 8, 10 and 15, and I have devoted my life to keeping them safe in the present, and well into their futures. What I want for them, and my family, is what I want for all Chicagoans, which is why as a Cook County commissioner, I worked to secure $75 million in grants for violence prevention – a historic level of funding to protect communities like my own and neighborhoods across the city.
“Chicago needs change – not just in city hall, but also in public accommodations like transit and public safety. As we’ve seen all throughout the Chicago area, and our country, the safest communities are the most resourced communities. Policing in Chicago needs leadership that understands the dynamics in our neighborhoods. The direction that officers are being given right now is lacking and ineffective, and as a city, we must go in a different direction. Chicagoans will not feel protected without a vision for public safety that works for its people, and where the people have a voice. ‘Shootings and homicides are down’ rhetoric falls short. Why?
“Measuring crime statistics is like measuring high blood pressure. You can prescribe medication to keep your condition at bay, but there are side effects. Without long-term change in diet and exercise, there is always the potential for illness and disease. This is where we are as a city – experiencing short-term change when we need to change our lifestyle, and our long-term effort in resourcing communities and protecting neighborhoods and families.
“This is the only way we will fight the diseases of gun violence, and trauma, that impact communities like Austin and working families like my own.”
Statement from Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson on recent violence in the Austin community