The phone rang, and it was Arne Duncan on the line. He was on his way to Roseland, he said, in hopes he might help prevent violent retribution for a killing last Thursday.

The homicide happened outside the Youth Peace Center of Roseland, on the Far South Side. Stephon Mack, 24, the man who was killed, had come for the life coaching and job training provided by Duncan’s organization, Create Real Economic Destiny, better known as CRED. A security guard trying to protect him also was shot.

CRED identifies young men and women most likely to be involved in violent crime and seeks to change their lives before they shoot or get shot. There are roughly 25,000 such “acutely at-risk” young people in about 15 Chicago neighborhoods, CRED’s research shows.

Mack got shot working to turn his life around. The shooter rode in a car with another man and sped away, Duncan said. Chances are, they won’t be caught. Fewer than 10% of shootings in Roseland lead to arrest, according to CRED.


David Greising

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative...