Faced with rising concerns about violence in Chicago and across the state, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced on Sunday the formation of a group to gather testimony from victims of violence.
The Illinois Anti-Violence Commission will speak with "victims, neighborhood groups, authorities and experts in violence prevention," according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The commission is one attempt on the governor's part to stem the rising tide of violence. The Chicago Police Department reports that homicides are up this year compared to the same period in 2009, and a few high-profile cases have pushed the issue into the spotlight.
Just a week before Quinn's announcement, Chicago Police Officer Michael Bailey was killed outside his home after he finished working an overnight shift. Bailey was less than a month from retiring.
Earlier this month, Officer Thor Soderberg was shot and killed with his own weapon while exiting a South Side police station. And in May, Thomas Wortham IV, another police officer and an Iraq War veteran, was murdered during a robbery attempt outside his South Side home.
The deaths of the police officers have brought increased attention to the issue of violent crime in Chicago. Concerns about crime had already made national headlines when two state representatives proposed calling in the National Guard to help police the streets. The Supreme Court's decision to overturn the city's handgun ban also thrust Chicago's gun problem into national prominence.
Gov. Quinn's new commission will seek redress for some of the victims of the violence that has plagued the city, by collecting the stories of those affected by violence and reporting them to the General Assembly in November. According to the Associated Press, Quinn said the impact of a violent crime "ripples throughout the community for years."
The commission will reportedly include the sister of Thomas Wortham IV, among many others.