(The Center Square) – An additional 41 people were shot Monday in Chicago and six were killed, that’s on top of more than 100 shot and 14 killed over the Father’s Day weekend.
In the aftermath of the weekend shootings, some around the state are looking for answers.
Chicago state Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said law enforcement and the mayor want more enforcement. But that, he said, neglects what he sees as the root factor: Poverty.
“It’s really a direct parallel between poverty and crime and if we don’t address that we’re going to continue to see the poverty and the crime,” Ford said.
Ford said more focus needs to be on mental health services. He also said there needs to be more job creation.
“There are thousands of thousands of vacant buildings, of store fonts, in the city of Chicago that could create jobs and immediately you’d see a decrease in crime,” he said.
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President Mark Denzler said manufacturers can always do better to educate and train minority communities for manufacturing jobs.
“So whether it’s young kids coming out of school or returning veterans, we need to do that,” Denzler said. “But most importantly we have to get our policies correct in the state of Illinois because if we don’t have good policies we’re not going to grow and we’re not going to have jobs for everybody.”
Denzler has said there need to be lower costs to do business in Illinois. Illinois has among the highest property taxes and workers’ compensation costs in the nation and the region.
Ford said there needs to be more done to foster small business development, but he said “there is a slim and almost zero appetite to grow businesses in the Black community.”
Ford implored the governor to work with banks to get capital for small business creation in such areas.
“We acknowledge the history of economic disparities perpetuated by decades of underinvestment in low-income, minority neighborhoods,” Illinois Bankers Association President and CEO Randy Hultgren said. “We have long worked with Representative Ford and his colleagues to address and overcome these historical challenges. The banking community is committed to continuing this dialogue and transforming ideas into meaningful action. We also encourage minority-owned businesses that are currently facing financial challenges to contact a local lender. Many options exist to help businesses overcome economic hardships, including government-backed loans, educational resources, and deferral options.”