ENGLEWOOD — Englewood community groups will have an opportunity to reshape neighborhood violence prevention after receiving a $953,000 federal grant this week to help reduce crime in the neighborhood.
The grant was awarded to the Englewood Public Safety Taskforce, a coalition of police, academic and community groups. The U.S. Department of Justice Innovations In Community-Based Crime Reduction grants seek to invest in the development of community-led solutions to reduce crime based on research and data.
Through the Department of Justice initiative, grant recipients partner with local researchers, law enforcement agencies, community developers and residents to determine the causes contributing to crime and with use of data and research. The ultimate goal is to develop strategies to address the issues the community faces.
Teamwork Englewood is the fiscal partner for the project. Other partners include the Englewood (7th) Police District, the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.), Northeastern Illinois University and the Englewood Quality of Life Plan Champions.
The grant will be awarded to the task force over three years. It will fund community projects decided on by the program partners and neighbors, pay for overtime for area police officers and crime evaluation tools, said Perry Gunn, executive director of Teamwork Englewood.
Maurice Pha’tal Perkins, project coordinator, said the grant award shows how dedicated neighbors are to changing the negative perceptions about Englewood. The project will be called “T.I.M.E. – 21:36.”
“T.I.M.E. is an acronym for This Is My Englewood, 21:36 represents the perspective of the community, which covers the 60621 and 60636 zip codes,” Perkins said.
“As residents of the neighborhood, we can create our own narrative about Englewood and what is really happening with public safety in our community,” he added.
During a surprise visit to Chicago Wednesday, Gunn and other neighborhood leaders met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Garfield Park. Gunn said he hopes the significant grant will help Englewood “put a huge dent” in reducing crime in the neighborhood.
“I hope we create a real legacy program and project that changes the dynamic of how a community can be engaged and contributing members to reducing crime in their own neighborhood,” Gunn said.
Asiaha Butler, president of Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.), said the group will work to engage neighbors in the three-year initiative.
““There are some things we have in the works that we want to do in terms of transforming vacant, doing things around the streets, changing the environment to make sure crime doesn’t happen, and then also the community conversations with the police to really figure out how we can break those tensions,” Butler said.
Individuals and groups interested in volunteering and donating to the initiative should call 773-448-6600 for more information.
The next meeting for the Teamwork Englewood Public Safety Taskforce is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 415 W. Englewood Ave.