Illinois hopes to curb summer violence by investing cannabis tax funds in teen activities

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Chicago police officers investigate the scene of a deadly shooting in Chicago on Sunday, July 5, 2020, where a 7-year-old girl and a man were fatally shot during a Fourth of July party Saturday. At least a dozen people were killed in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, police said. Scores of people were shot and wounded. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois says it’s using a “public health approach” to curb anticipated summer violence by investing $3.5 million from the state’s marijuana tax towards organizations offering activities to teens.

The grants will support summer programs from July 1st to September 30th, and come from the Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program, which was part of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

“We have to address the root causes of violence and invest in communities and the people who deserve more resources and opportunities than they have historically been given” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton.

Chicago Police Department crime data recorded monthly over the past decade show violent crime totals are routinely highest from June to August. Other large urban areas across the state also experience high crime and anticipate an increase in violent crime during the summer months.

Funding was made available to organizations that serve communities in Aurora, Bloomington, Champaign, Chicago, Decatur, East St. Louis, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield, Suburban Cook County, and Waukegan.

“Using a public health approach, this emergency response to summer violence will expand and increase resources aimed at addressing the risk of escalating violence, which is experienced each year in the state’s most vulnerable communities,” said Acting Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Executive Director Delrice Adams.

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