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Abstract

This research paper examines the various ways in which public servants can help remedy the problem of gun violence in the city of Chicago. In 2016, the estimated number of deaths caused by gun violence in Chicago constituted 489 people. Despite the implementation of various policies to mitigate this issue, the city continues to record a high number of homicides each day. Nevertheless, several practical measures can be adopted by public service to change the situation. The public servants play a pivotal role in preventing the incidences of gun violence by adopting a combination of legalistic and holistic approaches. In fact, one of the effective measures is the implementation of a stringent policy on the possession of firearms. This research paper critically addresses some of the challenges that public servants encounter in their efforts to counter gun violence in the city of Chicago. These problems range from cultural, economical to historical factors that contribute to the cases of gun violence in the city. In addition, public servants can significantly contribute to the governance of the city through different approaches. Consequently, this research paper presents the barriers faced by public servants and analyzes the possible ways of overcoming these obstacles.

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Gun Violence in Chicago

This research paper addresses various measures that can be taken by the public servants and administration to tackle the problem of gun violence, which has been a common issue in Chicago for some years now. First, the paper presents a background on the available information about gun violence in Chicago and analyzes how it has affected different aspects of city life. Secondly, it focuses on how the public servants in Chicago can handle this issue of gun violence. Lastly, the research paper provides an in-depth explanation of how public service can enhance governance in the city of Chicago. Besides, various barriers faced by the public service are analyzed, offering different ways to overcome them.

Background

The number of homicides due to gun violence in Chicago has reached five hundred this year. The city has had more killings than the two larger cities, including Los Angeles and New York, combined. In the first three months of 2016, the number of shootings surged to more than 88% comparing to the same time last year (Berman & Guarino, 2016). This proves that the rate of homicides has been increasing at a stunning rate and calls for the need to stop these incidences. In fact, gun violence inflicts much damage to the city residents, as they do not only pay the costs but also lose the lives of many. Moreover, it strains public services, such as medical care and law enforcement, and it eventually affects economic growth by forcing residents to leave their communities, lowering the value of the property. Research has shown that for each homicide in the city about 70 inhabitants flee their premises (Cox, 2016).

Gun violence in Chicago has worsened America’s existing racial and economic discrepancies. As a result, America has been considered as a country with the highest rates of homicide in the world, since different cities encounter gun violence at elevated rates. Deadly crimes have always been caused by the use of guns, which have led to a high number of deaths in different cities. In fact, Chicago has been experiencing these crimes more than any other town. Despite the strong policies on gun sales within and beyond the border of the city, the causes of gun violence have been escalating at an alarming rate each year. Most of the guns accessed by the gangs are obtained at the black markets, which are full of unlicensed dealers (Kieltyka, Kucybala, & Crandall, 2016). Moreover, gun violence excessively impacts communities of color.

A recently analyzed report on police shootings in Chicago from 2006 to 2014 indicates a more complex interrelationship between race, law enforcement, and violence (Cox, 2016). One of the outstanding complexities found in this report was the fact that 81 percent of the individuals shot by the police were minorities. This indicates the discrepancies in the protection of minority rights in the city. Thus, the public service must step in to tighten the policies on the protection of minorities in the community. In fact, poverty in Chicago has been a persistent issue similar to racial segregation. A study by Sampson showed that the neighborhoods that were poor in 1970 were still poor in 2000 (Madhani, 2016). The most affected communities are the blacks who reside in areas characterized by harmful cultural norms.

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The Role of Public Servants

The problem of gun violence in Chicago cannot be completely solved by public policy. Therefore, public servants should also consider addressing this menace themselves. The public service sector in the city of Chicago can implement a holistic approach to finding a solution to gun violence. One of these approaches is establishing a program where former gang members can counsel individuals at risk of joining gangs in the city. Apparently, the public administration in Chicago has always taken a strong legalistic approach that has always emphasized severe penalties for gun violations (Madhani, 2016). In turn, this approach has led to the creation of a database for law enforcement to follow up on the changing gun alliances. Nevertheless, this solution has not borne much fruit in the fight against gun violence in Chicago. Thus, a combination of a holistic and legalistic approach is necessary to help the public service find a lasting solution to gun violence in Chicago (Madhani, 2016).

The police officers are public servants who are mandated to maintain peace and order in the city. They play a central role in finding a solution to actual gun violence in Chicago. Therefore, to fight effectively this vice, the department needs to employ a humanistic approach rather than treating the gang members as eternal villains. They can do this by incentivizing them to be a part of the network, which collectively addresses gun violence. This approach fosters cooperation and trust between the gang members and law enforcement agencies. Again, the public administration can expand its outreach to business, educational, religious and nonprofit organizations (Newman & Gerena, 2016).

The public servants can help remedy gun violence in the city of Chicago by implementing prison re-entry programs for criminals and parolees. This program seeks to considerably minimize crime and improve public safety by enacting a seamless system of services for in-custody felony offenders from the time they enter prison until their transition, reintegration to the society and aftercare in their communities. The implementation of the program will make a difference, as the offenders will not go back to criminal activities, but rather will experience rehabilitation and support that can positively influence their future choices. The re-entry program will also offer treatment of drug use disorders, job training, employment, apprenticeships, job interview training, housing, and voting rights (Matejkowski, 2016). The program should also entail a proper parole system that would ensure that the re-entry into the society would not follow by the criminal activities. There has been a lack of effective implementation of an appropriate prison re-entry program since numerous gun violence offenders in Chicago are ex-offenders.

Police in Chicago have pointed out that gangs have majorly driven the rise in violence. The public service should reinforce the policies on guns to reduce access to weapons. Gun control is a tricky issue despite the stringent limits that have been placed on guns. It is evident that strong laws and effective enforcement can restrain the black market and enhance public safety. The law enforcement agencies should also fight theft in the city since it is a significant contributor to the black market (Matejkowski, 2016). It was found that every stolen gun had always ended up in criminals’ hands. These thefts have considerably undermined policies that try to halt the distribution of guns on the black market through different trafficking channels. The city’s administration can also improve the public spaces to make it difficult for villains to use firearms. Thus, the public service can reinforce policies on theft to ensure that the channels or black markets that supply illegal guns are eliminated.

Therefore, public servants can start by promoting economic development in the city that will contribute to increased finances and better living standards of the residents. This can be facilitated by developing strong anchors in every community, such as proper transportation, a hub that helps people get access to job opportunities, a grocery store, a great school that acts as a vocational training center (Matejkowski, 2016). Consequently, the public service can enhance economic development by supporting the community and their small businesses. These measures will help develop a vibrant local economy that promotes job creation and generates revenue for the city.

The public servants should also play a central role in fighting the desegregation in the city. This can be achieved by promoting equality in the delivery of different public services, such as transportation, medical care, and education. In addition, housing should be affordable and available throughout the city. Efforts of desegregation can also be furthered in schools to promote exclusive diversity goals that can enhance the integration of different ethnic groups in one learning environment. This would help eliminate racial enmities in the city and ultimately reduce the incidence of gun violence (Cox, 2016). The public service plays a crucial role in facilitating the attainment of peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic groups in Chicago.

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Measures to stop gun violence

A few important directions need to be taken to address gun violence that involves gangs. First, the law police department and other law enforcement agencies need to understand the groups. In fact, this process may include documenting their development, size, history, and their functions in Chicago. In addition, there is a need to conduct an ecological study of the area occupied by the gangs. Such research would not only provide a deeper insight into the gangs and their activities but also unveil the communities that tolerate their presence (Newman & Gerena, 2016). A major hindrance to implementing effective strategies to stop the gangs has been the inadequate information collected and maintained by law enforcement agencies.

The second measure is identifying the sources of illegal weapons. This is crucial, as the police department will be able to cut down the supply of illegal ammunition to the gangs and other individuals. In fact, precise policies should monitor the legally acquired guns. Through the enactment of these policies, the public service agencies will effectively halt the flow of illegal guns in the city. The next approach is the adoption of a harmonized approach to gun violence (Binder, 2015). These measures are mainly focused on efforts to increase the educational accomplishments of young people, reduce poverty, and offer expedient employment for youths who are at risk of joining gangs.

The local law enforcement can also enact a problem-solving technique to thwart gun violence. This may involve working with different community groups to establish an interagency group. In fact, prosecutors, police, and parole have to work together with community figures and local service providers (Voisin, 2015). The functions of these groups need to be integrated in order to be effective.

Factors Affecting Public Service

Various cultural, economic and historical factors affect the role of public service. In fact, inadequate finances have been of the major hindrance to the mitigation action plans that the public service has implemented to stop gun violence. Chicago has been experiencing a financial mess since the huge budgets are allocated to various departments. Apparently, the financial problems in the city have been majorly caused by the increasing population and shortage of revenues, which are the result of increased rates of crimes (Khalil & Adelabu, 2012). The most significant concern for the city is the budget problems, which has considerably affected public service operations. Other issues of concern are crime rates, transportation, job creation, school and ethics reforms, and privatization.

The historical contexts in Chicago have also significantly affected the role of public service in the city. The problem of gun violence emanates from the notorious shootings in Chicago’s ghettos during 1960. These incidences have further been fuelled by robberies, rampant alcoholism, single-parent families, rape, heroin addiction, vacant lots, joblessness, fires, and school dropouts (Kieltyka et al., 2016). The bottlenecks systems hinder the public service from launching effective actions without having to go through long processes. These factors have significantly contributed to the escalation of homicides in Chicago for decades. As a result, the public service has always found it difficult to control the rate of crimes each year, since it has always been a norm.

Racial segregation has also influenced the role of public service in Chicago. The city of Chicago consists of a diverse population that aggregates to over 2.8 million people. This population consists of three major ethnic groups, which include 27 percent of Latino Americans, 33 percent of white, and 34 percent of black (Madhani, 2016). In fact, racial segregation has always been high in Chicago, and some of the incidences of gun violence witnessed by the city have been primarily contributed by the racial disparities. Such a situation in Chicago has been added by the fact that the Latino, African-Americans and the whites are clustered in different areas. Perhaps one of the biggest evils of racial segregation is the way it concentrates the ethnic groups in the areas that are considerably affected by poverty (Madhani, 2016). The blacks have been most impacted by this factor, which has resulted in harmful cultural norms and behaviors, such as indulgence in violence.

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The city of Chicago draws its strengths from its diverse population. Thus, the public administration should guarantee that they promote policies, which ensure safe streets, well-paying jobs, and strong schools throughout the city with the aim of lifting the standard of living of all neighborhoods. If the public service manages to accomplish the offered solution, then it will be able to enhance integration and peaceful coexistence among people (Matejkowski, 2016). The public service should first ensure that every city resident has access to affordable housing options. Besides, the residents should have access to an excellent public school, healthy food, and public transportation. These measures would guarantee every Chicagoan access to resources needed to build a better life for their children.

How Public Service can help improve governance in Chicago

The public service can enhance city governance by establishing platforms for young people, where they can form teams to improve city policies in such sectors as citizen engagement, open data, and a technology roadmap for the city. The Chicago Police Department, which is the major branch of the public service, has to develop different gang intervention programs that will help prevent gun violence in the city. In such a way, prominent community figures, law enforcement agencies, and service providers convey a cohesive message to the gang members that halt the ferocity (Khalil & Adelabu, 2012). These actions would significantly help in minimizing incidences of gun violence in the city of Chicago.

The public service can help enhance governance in the city by focusing on the use of various approaches. Good governance in the public service is the foundation for effective and efficient administrative performance reinforced by different accountability requirements. Besides, it encourages improved accountability and better service delivery. In addition, effective management and organizational culture are necessary to provide support systems and structures for governance (Khalil & Adelabu, 2012). The governance structures vary in different categories of public sector bodies, such as statutory authorities, due to their differing roles.

The public sector in Chicago has to fulfill many functions in order to meet a complex range of economic, political, social, and environmental needs. These complex needs subject the sector to a wide array of internal and external restraints and incentives, which are coming from the private sector. All these constraints greatly affect the governance of the public sector, calling for the need for effective management strategies. The core objective of the public service is to achieve objectives aimed at maintaining and improving the well-being of citizens. They are obliged to coordinate and lead to the consensus among all departments and society. Besides, they have the power to control entities operating in various sectors of the economy and to promote and safeguard the interests of the residents, consumers, and even stakeholders (Ruggles & Rajan, 2014). The public service is mandated to take on such activities since they have the capability to exercise sovereign powers.

In order to foster good governance, the public service in the city of Chicago must always act in the public interest and be consistent with the government policies and legislation (Matejkowski, 2016). Working for the benefit of the public implies considering a broader benefit of society, which has to lead to positive results for the residents and other stakeholders. In addition, the public sector has to recognize the differences in ethical and cultural systems when determining whether the public interests are met (Blake, 2016). Since Chicago comprises a diverse population, the need of every resident should be satisfied.

Overcoming the challenges

The public service can overcome the barriers by maintaining a continued partnership with the police department. In addition, the police department can enhance association with Operation Ceasefire Illinois, which is an effective strategy aimed at reducing the number of gun violence. The primary goals of the Ceasefire initiative are the direct intrusion of illegal firearms traffickers, and an array of intervention actions that thwart gang engagement in gun violence. Moreover, the police can create a robust enforcement pressure targeted at gang members to discourage them from carrying guns. In addition, the police patrols should focus on gun violence prevention and provide immediate 911 responses.

However, various strategies that have been enacted to stop violence have not been successful. As a result, there has been a need to develop plans that are can help the residents of crime affected areas with social services, such as domestic violence counseling, job placement, camps for kids and much more. However, the Chicago Police Department came up with an initiative known as Violence reduction. The aim of this initiative was to pay the police for extra time spent in troubled areas. However, the initiative had to be ended, since the rising number of officers was involved in the incidents (Voisin, 2015).

The public service should establish strategic measures for community safety initiatives, which aim to minimize violent crimes in the target communities. A core goal of this strategy is to develop a multiagency partnership with the local U.S. Attorney’s offices (“Gun Violence in America: A National Crisis,” 2016). The approach can also involve the researchers in the execution and planning of the given strategies. Moreover, they should focus on deterrence strategies targeting high-risk places and criminals in violent hotspots. In addition, there is a need to concentrate on open-air drug markets, which usually create attractive targets for robberies. These attractive targets also draw young people into drug peddling, which eventually results in the purchase and use of guns by the buyers, dealers and some citizens.

Developing and enacting effective strategies aimed at the prevention of gun violence deserves to be the priority at all sectors of public service. Besides, national policies are often valuable in solving the issues of gun accessibility regarding both the legal acquisition of firearms by private citizens and the prevention of the influx of illegal guns from other countries. The Federal government has a crucial role of providing resources, criminal service agencies, social services, and useful data (“Gun Violence in America: A National Crisis,” 2016). It also provides the necessary funds to implement particular crime prevention initiatives. In addition, the local leaders have the mandate to contribute resources and oversee the implementation of effective measures that are specifically designed to fight the nature and cause of gun violence. Most cases of gun violence in the city of Chicago has been attributed to gang members. Research has shown that gang members commit more crimes than non-gang members (“Gun Violence in America: A National Crisis,” 2016).

The public sector can overcome financial problems by ensuring that it establishes a comprehensive and transparent fiscal and non-financial data. This would also help mitigate incidences of corruption and embezzlement of funds. Natural resources should be utilized efficiently in the production of goods and services, thus improving the well-being of society by offering greater accessibility and availability (Khalil & Adelabu, 2012). In addition, the public service should have a reliable control system that would help attain its goals. Consequently, it will contribute to the effectiveness of risk management while observing laws, regulations, and organizational policies. Strong financial management is also key to ensuring that public money is used efficiently and economically at all times (Khalil & Adelabu, 2012).

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The public service should also demonstrate a high level of commitment to the rule of law, integrity, and ethical values. They are always responsible for utilizing a considerable portion of the financial resources generated through taxation and for offering services to the citizens. Apparently, this sector is mainly accountable for the ways in which resources and money are used (Blake, 2016). The public sector has a predominant task to meet the public interest by adhering to the requirements of government policies and regulations.

Conclusion

In summary, gun violence in Chicago has been increasing over the past years despite the implementation of various strategies to stop such incidences. Punitive approaches to dealing with gun violence have always failed, thereby calling for the need for a multi-dimensional community-based approach. The community-based approach is practical, as it helps provide support to offenders and rehabilitate them. However, there are still some effective strategies that can be implemented to stop these incidences of crime. The members of the public, leaders, and advocates have a great role to play in the fight against gun violence in Chicago. The research paper has determined how the cultural, historical, economic and even contextual factors affect the role of public service in the city of Chicago. The public servants can help remedy the incidences of gun violence by mainly strengthening the laws that regulate the possession of firearms. There are also different steps that the public sector can take in order to improve governance in the city. The public service can overcome various challenges by adopting holistic approaches in utilizing government resources.