John Lott: Chicago’s crime problem — this is real reason behind it that city’s Dem mayor will never admit

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“Let’s be clear: We are coming to get you,” Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned on Monday morning, after riots that night had caused more than $60 million in damage to Chicago’s upscale Magnificent Mile and left 13 police officer injured. “We are already at work in finding you, and we intend to hold you accountable for your actions.”

Unfortunately, the criminals don’t take the mayor seriously.

Chicago and Illinois politicians are well known for always blaming the “gun problem” for their high crime rates. But there is a much more obvious explanation. In 2019, Chicago police recorded 486 murders but only made 109 arrests – an arrest rate of just 22%. In the last few years, the nationwide rate has remained at over 70%.


When you don’t catch criminals, the obvious result is more crime.

Chicago’s policing problems are the result of bad political decisions. After his election in 2011, former mayor Rahm Emanuel did three unfortunate things that hampered the Chicago police force. The mayor: closed down detective bureaus in Chicago’s highest crime districts, relocating them to often distant locations; disbanded many gang task forces; and, in cooperation with the ACLU, instituted new, voluminous forms that have to be filled out by police officers each time that they stop someone to investigate a crime. Each time a cop talks to a civilian, they have to spend about an hour filling out these forms. All this time could have been spent policing neighborhoods.

Lightfoot has continued those policies and herself introduced more politically correct curriculum into the police academy training. And the mayor’s relationship with police can only be described as frosty. Text messages to Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara had the mayor calling him a “cartoon character,” “clown” and “total fraud.” That’s after Catanzara sent a letter to President Donald Trump in July pleading for federal help with the city’s crime problems.

With Chicago’s problems, you would think that the mayor would be begging Trump for help. Instead, she attacks his offers as “misogynistic and racist rants,” spurning his offers and strictly limiting what he can do to help.

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The mayor’s not the only one letting down the police in Chicago. Police Superintendent David Brown blamed Kim Foxx, the Cook County State’s Attorney: “These looters acted as if there are no consequences to their behavior, and they base that on what happened previously. We made a lot of arrests in May and June, and not many of those cases were prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

During Foxx’s three years in office, she has dropped all charges against 29.9% of felony defendants – that comes to 25,183 felony cases over three years, as compared to the 8,694 felony cases that her predecessor dropped in her last three years. Foxx more than doubled the rate that she dropped cases involving the aggravated battery of a police officer.


Of course, Foxx disputes that her office bears any responsibility for the city’s violence. Everyone in Chicago wants to blame someone else.

On top of everything else, Cook County has released about 30% of its inmates due to the pandemic.

But Chicago is hardly unique. Kimberly Gardner, the St. Louis prosecutor who refused to file criminal charges against the rioters in her city, has made news for charging Mark and Patricia McCloskey after they defended their homes with guns. Both Foxx and Gardner have received significant financial support from left-wing supporters.


Democrats aren’t seriously trying to solve these problems when they suggest shrinking police departments’ budgets. In a July 8 interview, Biden said that he “absolutely” supports redirecting “some of the funding [for police]” into social services, mental health counseling, and affordable housing. When asked if police shootings could be prevented if police were replaced with wellness counselors, Biden responded: “Yes, I proposed that type of reform.”

Chicago is a mess. But it can look to other cities, such as Detroit, which hasn’t had nearly the same level of rioting. As Detroit Police Chief James Craig understands that this isn’t rocket science. He recently explained: “We don’t retreat here in Detroit. We’re just not gonna do it. … We weren’t giving up ground to the radicals. We just didn’t do it.”


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