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five digital age axioms
for citywide trust and safety

1. Digital age safety problems require digital age solutions

  • Chicago's current Violent Reduction tactics are holdovers from its industrial age, 

  • In an age digital media, the buying habits, cultural choices and voting decisions of all Chicagoans are impacted and shaped by media.

  • Yet no city planner has ever factored the power or resources of Chicago's media into any plan for Chicago's future, let alone any plan for the city's public safety.   

 2. Digital age safety is unachievable without broad public (citizen) participation

  • As stated above, this is so owing to citywide distribution of the digital tools that have the power to make Chicago either safe or violent.

  • Public participation in Chicago's Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) program, for instance, has languished since its creation in the late 1990's because this citizen-participatory, safety-generating program has found NO PERMANENT HOME in Chicago's media.

3. Digital age safety requires citywide TRUST and TEAMWORK

  • Trust must be earned and mutual. Among citizens, police and City Hall.

  • Mayoral candidates spend millions degrading each other in election-time TV attack ads, causing voter mistrust of City Hall presently rises with every election cycle.

  • Efforts to limit or restrict TV attack ads are negative. Trust requires positive effort.

  • Citywide trust hinges on the ability of local media to create rule-governed content and programming that earns the same high level of trust and respect that Chicagoans place in the rule-governed telecasts of their beloved sports teams. With trust comes teamwork.


4. Digital age media can profit handsomely using their resources to help keep Chicago SAFE.

  • There exists in Chicago a Market of the Whole of all 2.7 million Chicagoans with a stake in the safety of their families, neighborhoods, businesses, public spaces and public transportation

  • This large market - the largest of ALL Chicago markets - is untapped by Chicago's media.​

5. Citywide safety brings equal social and economic benefits to 2.7 million Chicagoans and to the city as a whole.

  • Chicago's citywide commitment to safety, as it succeeds, will benefit the city enormously by reversing its current (and somewhat undeserved) status as America's poster child for urban violence.
  • It goes without saying that Chicago's six-decade failure even to reduce its violence has resulted in catastrophic losses in human life and treasure. ​


  • The strategy of Violence Reduction - an ADULT-centered way of addressing crime - is a holdover of Chicago's Industrial Age. It has been both ineffective and counterproductive in addressing the city's primarily YOUTH-centered Digital Age violence.

  • For six decades, Chicago's industrial-age Violence Reduction tactics have backfired. They have worked to make and keep Chicago violent.

  • The tragedy is this: Chicago's network TV stations all along could have used their resources to connect Chicagoans of all ages and backgrounds with the city's police, public health professionals and City Hall for the purpose of MAKING CHICAGO SAFE .

    • But nothing remotely like this ever happened. Today Chicago's challenge is to belatedly exit the Industrial Age and enter the Digital Age in the field of public safety. This is no small task, for most Chicagoan, including city leaders and media, accept that Chicago's violence is inherently unsolvable, a hard fact of city life, like brutal Chicago winters

    • Reinforcing this entrenched mindset is the dispiriting premise of Violence Reduction itself, that violence can only be reduced, never solved. 

  • But Chicago has every reason today to rouse itself from its six-decade nightmare of violence.


It can can do so by examining its public safety past and present with a view to creating a viable public safety future. Books could be written about this topic. But time is precious. As a short cut, check out our graphic history of

The Last 100 Years of

Public Safety in Chicago. . .

tand the Future as Well

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