Greising: The ‘Whole-of-Government’ Tack for the Pandemic Found Success. Will It Work Against Chicago Violence?

If Chicago's whole-of-government approach to vaccinations was no simple feat, then imagine what it may take to address the economic, educational, health and social factors that contribute to the current surge in violent crime.

Police investigate a crime scene where three people were shot at the Wentworth Gardens housing complex in the Bridgeport neighborhood on June 23, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

Science is the secret to fighting public health emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught this lesson. And the theory behind Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s push to stop the surge of violence in the city is based on fighting it with tactics similar to some that worked in the effort to stop the coronavirus.

Lightfoot calls her latest strategy a “whole-of-government” approach to fighting crime. In truth, “whole of city” may be more accurate.

Lightfoot vividly made her whole-of-government point in a May news conference in the Chatham neighborhood. Surrounded by department heads and leaders of faith-based groups and community organizations, Lightfoot said they were “bringing everyone to the table” in the crime-fighting effort.

The idea is to focus on the 15 communities Lightfoot named in her “Our City, Our Safety” plan, starting with West Garfield Park, North Lawndale, Little Village and Englewood.

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