As of Saturday, February 25th, the city of Chicago has suffered over one hundred homicides to date. According to Megan Crepeau and Deanese Williams-Harris of the Chicago Tribune, “the shooting brings this year’s homicide toll approximately on a par with the first two months of 2016. That year ended with more than 780 people killed across the city, the most violent in decades.”
Chicago’s murder rate is a huge issue for the Windy City. But what is causing this drastic increase in homicides? Why does Chicago have so many murders when they have some of the strictest gun control laws in the country?
John R. Lott, the President of the Crime Prevention Research Center, wrote a piece for the National Review addressing this question. He writes:
The quality of Chicago’s policing has been deteriorating for decades. Back in 1991, 67 percent of murderers were arrested. When Mayor Richard M. Daley finally left office 20 years later, in 2011, the arrest rate was down to 30 percent. This troubling drop only continued after Rahm Emanuel became mayor, hitting a new low of 20 percent in 2016.
According to the FBI, in 2015, 61.5 percent of homicide cases nationwide led to an arrest. This data shows that Chicago’s arrest rate is far below the national average. Lott goes on to say:
Chicago’s problems are a result of putting politics ahead of sensible policing for decades. For example, after becoming mayor, Emanuel did three unfortunate things to the Chicago police force:
1) Emanuel closed down detective bureaus in Chicago’s highest-crime districts, relocating them to often distant locations.
2) The mayor disbanded many gang task forces.
3) In cooperation with the ACLU, Emanuel instituted new, voluminous forms that have to be filled out by police each time they stop someone to investigate a crime. All this time wasted filling out forms is time that can’t be spent policing neighborhoods.
These policies have made it much more difficult to catch criminals, and when you don’t catch criminals, the result is more crime.
The reality is — the reason for Chicago’s staggering murder rate is evident. Less policing means more crime. Not hard to figure out. However, Chicago’s leadership has decided to sacrifice better policing for political gain.
Moving detectives from high-crime areas is an obvious mistake. If murderers are not apprehended, they are free to claim more victims. Since most of the violence in Chicago is gang-related, disbanding gang forces just gives gangs more room to operate. Finally, giving the Chicago police even more paperwork hinders their efforts at stopping crime.
Liberty Nation’s Leesa K. Donner also covered the rising murder rate in Chicago. In her article, she discussed the findings of a study performed by the University of Chicago Crime Lab. The report stated,
One policing measure that declined was the chance of arrest for homicides and shootings (the “clearance rate”), which was a result of arrests for these crimes not keeping pace with the increase in gun violence. Another policing measure that declined was the number of investigatory street stops. However, for this to explain why shootings increased in Chicago would also require an explanation for why the previous dramatic decline in street stops in New York City did not lead to more gun violence there.
Ms. Donner points out the fact that investigatory street stops had decreased. While the report states that street stops in New York City did not cause more gun violence, there may still be a correlation between fewer street stops and more murders. Ms. Donner writes:
Different cities, different folks. It’s altogether possible that the crime situation in Chicago does not parallel that of NYC. It could be gang-related, drug-related – the list is endless. But hidden in that paragraph is a statistical indicator that crime stops went down.
As Lott says, “when you don’t catch criminals, the result is more crime.”
There is no viable reason why Chicago Police should not be allowed to do their jobs. The media has painted a clear majority of police officers as racists who desire to slaughter black Americans. They focus on the actions of some police officers as evidence. However, the narrative that the media is pushing is not altogether accurate.
It is apparent that policing saves lives. If black lives truly matter, we need empowered cops to catch criminals who are committing these murders. People are losing friends and family members almost every day in the Windy City.
The people of Chicago should be able to go about their everyday lives without having to worry about catching a bullet. Chicago’s leadership needs to worry less about appeasing the left and worry more about protecting its citizens. The people of Chicago deserve to live, work and play in safe communities.