What do you get when two mayors – one a former cop and the other an LGBTQ activist – meet up for a latte and chit-chat? Apparently not a cohesive plan to stamp out crime in large, liberal cities. Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot, well-known for her rainbow-colored crosswalks, had a sit down with Eric Adams, the most recent mayor of New York City. It’s unclear what they may have accomplished, but solving the issue of rampant crime certainly wasn’t on the list.
And why would either mayor take crime-solving advice from the other? Crime stats in the Big Apple are up 45% compared to the last year of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reign. And Chicago? The Windy City, already the national joke for the daily Shoot-a-Rama tabulation, has exceeded expectations by increasing its own criminal activity by 34%. So, as leaderboards go, these two might want to seek help from someone else.
Let’s Put on a Show!
Specifically, the two criminal justice experts said they were huddling to compare tactics on mass transit crimes. No one wants to ride the underground trains with thugs, criminals, and weirdos in either city. Possible causes for this reluctance might include being thrown down the stairs and hit on the head with a hammer, having human feces smeared on one’s face while waiting on the platform for the train, or catching a beat down in the swanky Chicago neighborhood stations.
Once emerging from closed-door meetings, the mayors proceeded to pat one another on the back during a roughly cobbled-together press event. At best, it was underwhelming: “The energy we are bringing. We have to work together,” claimed Adams. While his comrade, Mayor Lightfoot, imparted, “I know we are going to be great partners in the work we are all doing to make sure our residents can live safe and vibrant lives.”
Both Adams and Lightfoot have decided it would be a tremendous political junket to visit other significant (read: liberal and large) urban areas and talk some more. Adams is looking to develop a band of mayoral colleagues to help get all urban areas into ship-shape, saying, “we are going to put our heads together and operate as a team.”
What’s the Plan?
The small glimpses of strategy that came out of the meeting were somewhat reminiscent of the days when Rudy Giuliani roamed the hallways of Gracie Mansion: No crime is too small to ignore. Giuliani introduced Broken Window policing in the mid-1990s, which targeted non-violent crimes. The theory was that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder feed an environment that validates more severe offenses. It was a sound deterrent in keeping petty criminals from ramping up their felonious pursuits, and it was a great success. Most large cities eventually adopted similar – if somewhat rebranded – programs.
Today’s police departments are faced with intense scrutiny – and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, this has been coupled with defund the police movements, freeing offenders, and racial tensions. On the other hand, despite a general distrust of law enforcement, both cities have made minuscule adjustments to keep the brothers and sisters in blue active and engaged. Chicago has dropped the requirement of 60 college credit hours for some officers. In New York, desk jockeys on the force are being rerouted to visible patrol in parts of the city where crime is up. All the signs coming from these two mayors point to a soft reset of arresting criminals and prosecuting crime. And that is not a bad place to start.
~ Read more from Sarah Cowgill.