The Crusader Newspaper Group

Violence Interrupters and community organizations distribute Thanksgiving baskets and safety tips in crime-plagued Austin

This Thanksgiving holiday, Violence Interrupters Inc. says residents need to be thankful and vigilant to avoid carjackings, armed robberies, and other violent crimes that are on the rise in the nation’s third-largest city.

To remind residents to be cautious when out and about with family and friends, Tio Hardiman, founder and executive director of the nationally renowned violence prevention organization, said the organization is connecting with West Side community organizations to hand out food to the needy but to also distribute tips to protect them from danger.

While the 585 homicides in the city reflect a decrease this year, other major crimes are on the rise. There have been about 24,000 car thefts this year, up 268 percent over 2021 when 7,843 cars were stolen. Arm robberies are also up 25 percent from 2022 with nearly 8,500 reported in 2023 versus 6,741 the previous year.

Hardiman said the organization will also hold a press conference on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, at 2:00 PM CT, at 5116 W. Chicago Ave. in Chicago, to remind residents to be cautious of crime and to also send a message to city officials to shift funding for the migrants to fight the city’s surging violent crime, which is touching almost every section of the city, especially carjackings, car thefts and smash and grabs.

“Even the criminals watch the news,” Hardiman said. “They are becoming more brazen. They realize that the city cannot fight crime if it is spending all of the money on the migrants. They know the arrest percentage for a crime is very low and those who get caught often end up back out of the streets to create more terror. It is time to shift our focus. We need those millions of dollars now to address the crime.”

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About Tio Hardiman: Dubbed “Mr. Ceasefire,” Tio Hardiman created the award-winning CeaseFire initiative in 2004, and has been dedicated to combating problems of violence and corruption in the nation’s third-largest city. Hardiman is also the creator of the critically acclaimed documentary, The Interrupters (2011), and decided to produce a second film called The Chicago Way in 2017 as pushback against Chicago’s political corruption, police brutality, and the continued gun violence. Using his platform, Hardiman launched himself in the 2018 Gubernatorial race against Democrat powerhouses like JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy. He ran his campaign on the principles of combating violence, racism, and the top-down corruption that has been taking place for decades in Illinois. On April 26, 2020, Mr. Hardiman launched the “Tio Mr. Ceasefire Hardiman Show on WVON 1690 AM in Chicago, which airs on Sundays between 6 AM and 7 AM. For additional information on Tio Hardiman and Violence Interrupters, visit To schedule an interview with Mr. Hardiman, contact Jerry Thomas at (312) 804-7999, or [email protected].

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