Solving the gang violence in Chicago that is affecting mostly the African American community is as easy as 1-2-3. In my blog series on structured problem solving which you can read here, I go through the process one needs to take to be effective at identifying and solving complex issues. One needs to develop a problem statement that is supported by facts, implement necessary containment strategies to prevent the chance of recurrence, perform segmentation work to help pin point the source of the issue, develop models that can explain issue, running any necessary experiments to prove the model works, and then finally put solutions in place. Chicago and other cities suffering from elevated gang violence requires drastic measures to solve. The containment portion of the structure problem solving methodology is key in reducing the homicides in these cities. Putting containments in place is inherently a drastic measure. When working for Intel corporation as an engineer, if it was found that the factory was producing non-functional products, the drastic measure of shutting down a portion or the whole production line had to be made to contain the situation. We cared enough about the product we produced to prevent producing more bad ones, therefore we contained the situation. Because we care about people more than computer chips, we can support a containment strategy in our communities that may seem drastic but will work. Militarizing the affected areas of the city of Chicago as a containment strategy will quickly reduce the homicide rate, help eliminate residents fear to get involved, and prevent additional youth from getting involved in the vicious cycle of gang involvement.
The mere presence of non-threatening military personnel, many whom come from the very communities affected, in its self will reduce the murder rate in Chicago. Preventing opposing gangs from retaliating against each other using military strategies is a no brainer. The mere presence of force will result in gang members hiding weapons to prevent being arrested. I concede to those who may feel that militarizing these areas may make the communities feel oppressed even further, but I wonder if it may empower the already oppressed to take advantage of the now safer situation and help make change.
How can residents function in an environment that is constantly plagued with violence? Having to fear your child being gunned down in the streets for no reason is terrifying. Wanting to get involved and make change within the community is suppressed and isolated to what you can only do for your family, which is a good start of course. But if the presence of the law abiding citizens of these communities are of no relevance, the neighborhoods are left to mercy of those who need guidance. Militarizing the communities will remove fear and allow people to take a stand and get involved.
It is very easy for youth to get caught up in gangs. A loved one getting gunned down is a factor in another youth getting involved in gangs. “They killed the homie, man…, they killed your brother, you better…” It doesn’t take much peer pressure, and I know from experience, to want to join the forces that represent your immediate neighborhood. The retaliatory attitude and incidents that initiate action from the victims of violence is the biggest force that continues the cycle plaguing cities such as Chicago. Military presence will reduce the number of incidents requiring retaliation, thus decreasing the frustration and anger of our youth.
Chicago and many other cities with elevated homicide rates are in need drastic measures to solve the problem. Militarizing the areas is one way to contain the situation which will allow for the community and social organizations to get involved and start the healing process. This is an idea, one that should not be criticized unless others ideas and/or solutions are being proposed by those doing the critiquing.
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