WATCH NOW: MPI Executive Director Vaughn Bryant Talks Chicago Public Safety With WTTW

WTTW News hosted the latest installment of its live panel series entitled “VOICES: A WTTW News Community Conversation” on Monday, March 25, 2024 as an opportunity to discuss Chicago crime, violence, and public safety with key figures in the community violence intervention (CVI) space. 

Chicago Tonight co-anchor Paris Schutz moderated the discussion with panelists Vaughn Bryant, Executive Director of Metropolitan Peace Initiatives (MPI), and Kanoya Ali, Director of Housing at Chicago CRED. The group took a deep look into how residents, policymakers, police, and community groups are working together to help reduce gun violence and ensure a safer city for all.

In speaking on the impact of efforts from community groups across the city, Bryant pointed out the last two years of double-digit declines in homicides (in 2023, homicides were down by 12 percent from 2022, while shootings were down 14 percent). Organizations such as Communities Partnering 4 Peace, MPI, and Chicago CRED play an integral role in solving the larger issue of crime by providing services such as street outreach, behavioral health, workforce development, legal aid, organizational development, and housing assistance.

“We’re moving in a positive direction…we’re part of an ecosystem,” Bryant said. “[…] The police are in every community and it’s the combination of us trying to get to people before they commit a crime or before they’re incarcerated. And police have to be there if somebody does commit a crime and people have to be held accountable.”

“They have a particular role to play and we have a particular role to play as part of the whole entire ecosystem. I do think our city is better off.”

Watch the entire conversation below as the group discusses the lasting effects of trauma and community divestment, organizational triumphs and challenges, support from the current mayoral administration, and more.