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The violent crime situation in Chicago has reached such proportions that the mayor is now calling on the federal government for aid.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) gave a 40-minute speech on Monday in which she outlined the urgent request to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to send help in the form of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Specifically, Lightfoot wants a tougher crackdown on firearms that are illegal in Chicago, as well as additional prosecutors in order to bring more crimes to trial at the federal level, reported the Chicago Tribune.
None of these ideas are actually fresh innovations, but rather the same ideas that she’s trotted out many times before. Lightfoot also tried to shift blame to “root causes” such as poverty. Firearm possession is also a favorite target of the mayor, and Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.
Lightfoot did break with the liberal orthodoxy prevailing in cities like San Francisco, however, to insist that judges stop releasing individuals being charged with violent crimes back onto the streets but with electronic monitoring. It should be noted that this is also not a new line from her, as both the mayoral administration and the Chicago Police Department have been united in criticizing the local courts as too lenient.
Just like in San Francisco, however, criminal justice “reformers” have blatantly tried to deny that crime is actually trying to get worse, and even criticized her for daring to suggest that those who face charges for things such as murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping should be kept locked up while awaiting trial.
“The mayor’s regressive proposal calls for the pretrial detention of thousands of people who haven’t been convicted of anything and the plan could only be achieved by exploding the population of Cook County Jail in the middle of a pandemic,” said Cook County Public Defender Sharone Mitchell to the Tribune.
Promises to continue pushing an ordinance that targets gang members with various fines and forfeitures have also raised the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union, which feels that targeting gangs could lead to civil rights abuses.
Despite the criticism from extreme liberals, the mayor seemed to indicate that she feels little choice in the face of violent crime and its impact on the people who she needs to vote her into office. Lightfoot has admitted that Chicago residents are “scared” and, during her speech on Monday, indicated that the issue is reaching a point where public safety is trampling over the objections of orthodox liberal reformers who seemingly want to do away with retributive justice entirely:
“Keeping [the people of Chicago] safe is my priority — not one of, but the first and primary priority. I wake every morning with this as my first concern and I push myself and all involved to step up and do more and better because we cannot continue to endure the level of violence that we are now experiencing.”
Chicago police statistics paint a picture of a significantly worsening situation. Shooting victims are up from 3,930 in 2020 to 4,270 year-to-date in 2021. Homicides, already shockingly high, are up from 749 to 783 (these numbers do not reflect those killed in cases of self-defense). Carjackings are way up, from 130 in 2020 to 249 so far this year.
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