At the writing of this editorial, it’s not known who will be the next mayor of Kankakee. But, by the time you get to this page of today’s Daily Journal, you already know as election headlines are dominating the front page.
For what we’re about to say, though, it doesn’t matter who wins the election and will lead the city for the next four years: The city must get the gun violence under control.
If you read Tuesday’s paper, then you know there were another three shootings in the three days prior. And those shootings came on the heels of a shooting on Friday, and that’s not to mention a report of shots fired from the city’s ShotSpotter system.
The city will never fully move forward if this violence continues.
The psychological, social and financial burdens crime and violence place on individuals and communities are well-researched. The research of Justice Policy Center found that across five cities, gun violence surges slowed neighborhood home value appreciation by 4 percent.
In those same areas, a decrease was also seen in the average credit score and homeownership rates.
We report on big plans developing throughout the Kankakee community, from downtown development to infrastructure upgrades and more. Unfortunately, we just as often — and maybe even more often —report on shootings and reports of shots fired in the community.
The answer to the problem will be far bigger than just the mayor, but the mayor will need to rally the troops in finding a solution to this problem.
So, when we learn the outcome of Tuesday’s election, our first response will be congratulations and our second will be a question about plans to stop gun violence in the community.