Local billionaire sets goal to make Chicago the safest big city in America

Some of the most wealthy and influential business leaders in the City of Chicago have unveiled an ambitious violence reduction plan.

The goal is to reduce annual homicides in the city to under 400 within five years. 

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, led by billionaire James Crown, has made it his goal to make Chicago "the Safest Big City in America."

When it comes to homicides, Chicago's current stats aren't good. 

There were almost 700 last year and more than 800 in 2021. The last time Chicago had fewer than 400 homicides was in 1965.

"This isn't a cure-all solution for public safety, but it's a recognition that the business community has to do its part," said Robert Boik, Vice President of Public Safety for the Civic Committee.

The Civic Committee's plan includes five commitments:

  1. Scaling Community Violence Intervention (CVI) programs
  2. Providing jobs for the participants of CVI programs
  3. Enhancing policing/criminal justice reforms
  4. Hiring more broadly from the South and West Sides of Chicago
  5. Investing directly in the South and West Sides of Chicago


"If we really want the city to be safer, we have to be part of the solution and that involves us opening up our doors in perhaps some non-traditional ways to include individuals who need stable jobs to break the cycle of generational poverty," said Boik.

The Civic Committee's plan not only draws on the deep pockets and job-creation abilities of its members but also seems to approach the gun violence problem with an eye toward consultant-like efficiency.  

"We want there to be one plan for public safety in the City of Chicago. That's been lacking. We want there to be one plan where everyone has their role to play and we have to hold each other accountable for playing our roles," said Boik.

Longer term, the Civic Committee's goal is to reduce Chicago homicides to fewer than 200 per year within the next decade.