NEAR WEST SIDE — After announcing the city will hire nearly 1,000 new police officers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday will lay out his "comprehensive" plan for fighting crime that will include a focus on mentorship and job creation.
Emanuel has scheduled a Thursday night speech to detail his plans to reduce spiking gun violence in the city. On Wednesday, the mayor gave a preview of his speech while speaking to reporters about the city's decision to add 970 new officers within two years.
After Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and Emanuel spent Wednesday talking about boosting police ranks to help combat violence, Emanuel's Thursday night speech will detail other means to fight crime, such as building up the South and West sides of the city and providing opportunities for kids.
"You cannot put this alone on police," said Emanuel, speaking at an unrelated event Wednesday at Malcolm X City College.
While the city is facing rampant crime, particularly gang-driven gun violence, Emanuel said Chicago and its police force are dealing with other issues as well, such as deep community mistrust and a national spotlight.
"What we're facing today ... is something new," Emanuel said. "We're meeting it with a new response, which is more police, more technology, greater investment in our mentoring. We're going to make sure another generation doesn't fall into the grips of gangs."
Emanuel is expected to announce plans for more "mentorship" programs. He said after-school programs, summer jobs programs and mentors through groups like "My Brother's Keeper" will do as much to root out crime as an expanded police force will.
"It's as essential ... as how many officers there are," Emanuel said.
Emanuel's speech also will include a plea for fathers and other role models to play a bigger part in their kids' lives. His decision to address the topic has already garnered him some criticism, but Emanuel on Thursday defended his words, saying he knows the role a mentor can have on a child.
"I believe ... character counts. I believe in giving kids a foundation," he said. "If we give the kids of the city of Chicago a positive alternative with a caring adult, they'll go the positive route."
Emanuel said if kids don't have a role model or positive guiding influence, they are much more likely to fall into gangs.
"The Vice Lords are ready to be a mentor. Is Chicago ready to be a mentor?" Emanuel said. "We know what the gangs are offering, the question is will there be an alternative for our kids to choose from?"
Emanuel made his remarks from a job fair for young people at Malcolm X. College, and he said such efforts by the city will connect kids with jobs and help them turn away from the streets.
"We're going to make sure the people of the city of Chicago also have a job, that gives them hope, because that, too, is part of our public safety strategy," Emanuel said.
Emanuel will deliver his speech on crime at 6 p.m. Thursday at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd. The speech originally was planned for Tuesday.
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