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“Lori Lightfoot’s Deceptive ‘Our City, Our Safety’ Violence Prevention Plan: What are the distinctive components of Lori Lightfoot’s Violence Prevention Plan and how is it being implemented?”

Author: Ariana Ascencio

Department: UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs

Advisor: Dr. Joseph Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: Known as one of the most violent cities across the United States, Chicago has struggled to incorporate a violence prevention plan to reallocate resources to underprivileged areas subject to violence in the past years. In the project “Our City, Our Safety,” a comprehensive violence prevention plan was written by mayor Lori Lightfoot. She details where money should be allocated, why, and the desired outcome of each policy aspect. The scope of the current research explores the equitable practices of the mayor’s office, offering accountability on where and how the comprehensive violence prevention plan allocated funds are spent. Content analysis of all Our City, Our Safety policy publications are used to describe and explore the policy qualitatively. The current policy research found little to no documentation on where money was allocated. There have been rough estimates but no findings or publications on a balance sheet. Since the Chicago Police Department also falls into the budget under safety, we are still unaware of how much money is being allocated towards the police since it has a substantial balance in the City’s overall budget. Lack of transparency in money allocation has caused and will continue to generate distrust between the city and its citizens. Recommendations for the current policy calls for the improvement of leadership for programs that are necessary for the development and safety of Chicago but, most importantly, transparency in that leadership. Plans such as these that make up a significant amount of Chicago’s budget should have public accounts accessible to everyone with detailed monetary documentation to avoid mistrust within leadership and the citizens of Chicago.

Keywords: Chicago violence prevention plan, city of Chicago budget, budget transparency, accountability in political leadership