FOX 32 NEWS - Reducing the city's out of control shootings and murders is a top priority on the minds of many Chicagoans. But the mayor's plan for dealing with it is drawing a fair amount of skepticism.
During his speech, Mayor Rahm Emanuel mentioned the success of the 'Mothers Against Senseless Killings' organization that has staked out a number of street corners in Chicago the past two summers and prevented violence there.
But founder Tamar Manasseh, who was in the audience, said she found the mayor's speech unmotivating and pointed to the need for more prevention programs and jobs as more important than extra police.
At a West Side CAPS meeting Thursday night, the beat facilitator said mentoring is important, but impoverished youth need something more tangible.
“Put some jobs back, because there are a lot of people out here doing wrong, who would not be doing wrong if they had gainful employment, simple as that. That to me is the biggest issue,” said Tina Eames, who has lived on the West Side for more than 40 years and is the facilitator for CAPS beat 1131.
The head of the Black Star Project, which mentors and tutors at risk youth, said the mayor needs to target the right kids for mentoring if it's going to make a difference. He said the “Becoming a Man”, or BAM program, which the Mayor singled out for praise during his speech, is helping youth, but not the ones who really need to be turned around.
“The people who are causing the problems in our communities are not in the schools, so if you were going to create a mentoring program, it shouldn't be for the good kids in the schools, it should be for these bad kids out here,” said Phillip Jackson, Executive Director of the Black Star Project.
The head of the police union would like to see the city add even more police than the 1000 the mayor said will be added over the next two years. But Dean Angelo Sr. concedes that Chicago will never arrest its way out of the current crisis of violence. However, he sees hope in the mayor's overall approach.
“Are you going to solve it all overnight? No. Is it going to to be something that is going to be realized quickly? I don't think so, but I think that it's a start,” Angelo said.