Hardly a week goes by without a march against gun violence, but the mother of 19-year-old Kevin Ambrose who was shot and killed outside of a Chicago train station last year, doesn’t believe marching will change things in her city.
It’s a cultural issue, Ebony Ambrose said, and the culture has to change from within the home. The issue isn’t race, but that in this generation the culture has become a lot more negative.
It’s gotten to the point where you can’t even protect children by simply telling them to stay away from drugs and gangs so that nothing bad will happen to them, Ambrose said.
Kevin was a theater major at Columbia College Chicago. He loved poetry and fine arts, but was still killed by gun violence. His shooter has since been arrested, but no trial date has been set.
“I don’t think the government has the answer,” Ambrose said. “It’s not even anything in particular policemen can do; they’re a reactionary force.”
Ambrose said that in order to change the violent culture in her city, it goes back to the home. Turning off the television, turning off the radio and parents being more focused on how they’re raising their children is what will affect change.
Tracy Siska, executive director of the Chicago Justice Project, which focuses on criminal patterns within the city, said that we need less police and more investments into real economic development for communities with high crime.
The solution would be to subsidize real living wages within these communities plagued with high violence and crimes, Siska said.
“The cops are not a real solution,” he said. “It’s a whole slue of social issues related to education and opportunity.”
Dan Dowling, a member of the Chicago Police Department for eight years now agrees with both Ambrose and Siska that crime stems from cultural and economic issues in these areas, but he also said that there is still a need for police force.
“It’s the type of interactions, not so much that they don’t want [police] in the area,” Dowling said. “Which is why it is important that police are mindful of the relationships they foster with residents of the community.
Both officers and members of the community are becoming jaded, which is why these relationships are necessary to improve the well being of these high crime neighborhoods, Dowling said.