December 2, 2016
When will Prez-Elect Trump start bringing "law and order" to deadly Chicago?
The question in the title of this post is my first reaction to this lengthy depressing USA Today article's headline, "Chicago hits grim milestone of 700 murders for 2016 and the year's not over." Here are particulars:
Mired in a level of violence not seen in nearly two decades, the nation’s third largest city recorded its 701st murder on Thursday, reaching a stunning milestone before year's end.
Chicago has seen the number of killings increase by about 58% since last year, according to police department data. The city is on pace to record the most murders in a year since 1997, when the police department reported 761 killings. Chicago Police have also reported more than 3,300 shooting incidents in 2016, an increase of about 49% compared to the same time last year.
Early Thursday morning, Chicago Police responded to the latest fatal shooting — a 19-year-old man found dead on the street on the city’s West Side with gunshot wounds to his head and chest. As of Thursday afternoon, no one had been arrested for the shooting of the teen. “The levels of violence we have seen this year in some of our communities is absolutely unacceptable,” CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said of a murder rate the city has not seen since the end of crack-cocaine epidemic when a drug war between gangs fueled the rise in murders. “CPD will use every tool available to hold violent offenders accountable and will continue to work strategically to address crime and uphold its commitment to rebuild public trust.”
Johnson has blamed the violence on a combination of increased gang activity and weak gun laws that he says don't dissuade convicted felons from carrying and using weapons.
But anti-violence activists say the killings — the bulk of which are occurring in a few low-income and predominantly African-American neighborhoods on the city’s South and West Sides — also raise concerns that a dark edge has set into young people in some of the communities most impacted by the violence. Andrew Holmes, a longtime Chicago-based anti-violence activist, noted that fatal shootings increasingly appear to have been sparked by fights that started on social media and that too frequently the assailants in the deadly incidents are motivated by smallest of slights.... “It’s more personal and about more than the easy access to guns,” Holmes said. “This is driven so much by self-hatred…and because there is an easy access to guns, the first thing they do is go to the gun to settle a feud.”...
About 47% of Chicago's black men, ages 20 to 24, are unemployed, according to a report published earlier this year by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute. The national unemployment rate for young black men hovers around 31%. “The problems we’re having have everything to do with opportunity,” [community activist Diane] Latiker said. “It’s always been that way. Chicago has long been one of a ‘Tale of Two Cities.’ Nothing has changed.”
The last two months have been particularly grim. Chicago recorded 316 shooting incidents and 77 murders last month, more than doubling the number of slayings the city saw last November. In October, police tallied 353 shooting incidents and 78 murders, 49 more murders than the same month last year. The violence toll reported by the Chicago Police Department includes only killings that police have determined to be criminal acts. Not included in the data are the 11 fatal police-involved shooting incidents in 2016 — including four officer-involved shootings over a 10-day stretch in November.
The surge in violence coincides with the fraying of relations between the department and the city’s African-American residents following the release last year of video showing the police shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. But police officials and community activists downplay the impact that such strained relations is having on the surge in violence.
Social scientists and pollsters suggest that the rise in gun violence in Chicago is having a disproportionate impact on Americans’ perception about crime nationwide. The city has reported over 100 more murders this year than New York City and Los Angeles combined, according to the departments’ data. The murder toll in the two large U.S. cities is about the same as last year.
While the nationwide violent crime rate remains near a 30-year low, nearly 57% of Americans said that crime has gotten worse since 2008, according to a Pew Research Center survey published in November. President-elect Donald Trump on the campaign trail repeatedly spoke out about Chicago’s violence, at one point even comparing the city to a “war-torn country.”
The murder rate for the nation’s 30 largest cities is projected to increase by 13.1% for 2016, according to an analysis published in September by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. But nearly half of the projected increase in murders across the U.S. could be attributed to killings in Chicago, the analysis found. (At midyear, the nation’s biggest cities were cumulatively on pace to record 496 more murders than 2015, with Chicago projected to account for 234 of those killings.) “The ‘national” increase in murders…in other words, may owe more to profound local problems in a few Chicago neighborhoods than national trends,” the Brennan Center report concludes.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to expand the Chicago’s 12,500-member police force by nearly 1,000 officers over the next two years—an effort that includes bolstering the department’s detective ranks. The department has about 300 fewer detectives than it did in 2008. The department has also stepped up traffic enforcement, parole compliance checks and social service intervention for high-risk individuals in some of the city’s most violence-plagued neighborhoods.
Latiker argued that policing efforts alone will have limited effectiveness in solving Chicago’s violence problems. “We can’t lock up our way out of this problem,” Latiker said. “We need police. There’s no question about that. But you can’t take everything in the basket and throw it at police and tell them to take care of it.”
December 2, 2016 at 10:29 AM | Permalink
Why on earth would it be within the purview of the President of the United States to solve crime problems in the City of Chicago, State of Illinois?
Posted by: Fat Bastard | Dec 2, 2016 12:30:18 PM
Rhetorical question aside, local crime at times is affected by national issues, such as the interstate commerce in illegal guns or spending on police aided by federal funding.
Posted by: Joe | Dec 2, 2016 12:52:41 PM
Duterte did so in weeks, first in a city of which he was mayor. Then, he pacified the entire, totally out of control nation, again in weeks. Upon his taking office, 700,000 violent thugs turned themselves in, for the safety and protection of their prison system. Under Duterte, only 3000 criminals were killed to nearly eliminate crime. His country has 100 million people. Kill 10,000 criminals in our nation, it too can be rid of crime.
Ex-pats from his country in the USA love him, and the great things he has done for their home country, and only in weeks in office.
Duterte was educated as a lawyer, too.
I would enhance this effect by giving every killer of a violent criminal $10,000 in government gratitude. Such a token payment will prevent $millions in future damages to our economy by the death of each violent criminal.
Posted by: David Behar | Dec 2, 2016 2:53:10 PM
Oh, I don't disagree as to the unfortunate reality of the situation, but I really bemoan the degree of federal influence on a state and local issue. Interstate commerce be damned. Really and truly damned.
Posted by: Fat Bastard | Dec 2, 2016 7:25:21 PM
Joe, the feds have reduced gun prosecutions in cook county . . . ..
Posted by: federalist | Dec 3, 2016 1:01:10 PM
Does Chicago have a Youth Act like DC's?
Posted by: George | Dec 4, 2016 1:02:12 AM