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Chicago is no longer the city that works


The Chicago Sun-Times published Homicides in Chicago: a list of every victim. It contains the names of the 685 homicide-and counting-victims in Chicago. (It is not known if the homicides on the expressway are included, as the Illinois State Police have jurisdiction over city expressways.) They list some as Unknown. I update the list daily. Readers can scroll through the list or check the data by Year, Month, Cause (Shooting or stabbing), and Race/Ethnicity. There is also a Priority Communities Dashboard.

Homicides are down over last year, 685 deaths are still way too many. While Police Superintendent David Brown hypes how many firearm arrests officers make, it does nothing to stop the slaughter. Aside from murders, armed robberies are a daily occurrence. Teams, spanning neighborhoods, commit multiple robberies each day and night. Carjackings are a daily occurrence throughout the city. Crime is still out of control.

Another issue is the number of defensive shootings by victimized Concealed Carry licensees. With more people licensed to carry concealed firearms, it could get like the Wild West if they become potential victims.

Brown keeps hyping his failing strategies, plans, schemes, and deployments. Nothing seems to work. Chicago police officers are overworked, understaffed, and their morale is in the toilet. Some districts are manned with half the regular shifts and too many one-man cars. Over 1000 police officers retired or quit this year. Police suicides are up this year too. It is not known why suicides are up, but officers get angrier with each one. They believe the department is failing them, and they communicate their feelings on social media.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot seems oblivious to Brown’s failures since day one. Past mayors would have fired Brown before his first year was up. Why Lightfoot puts faith in Brown’s “leadership” is the proverbial mystery wrapped in an enigma.

The two Chicago newspaper editorial boards remain eerily silent over the steep decline in public safety. This is a sea change from how they treated past mayors over leadership failures. They should have demanded that Lightfoot fire Brown after his disastrous handling of the riots, damage, arsons, and looting that accompanied the peaceful mass protests two years ago. The economic damage from May through August 2020 exceeded $125 million dollars. Many businesses, especially on the Magnificent Mile, never recovered.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot wears the hat. Her primary responsibility is public safety. She, like David Brown, failed miserably. His failures are her failures. Yet, she stubbornly clings to him.

As I wrote before, hiring retired mercenary police chiefs is irresponsible. They do not know the city, neighborhoods, cultures, or dynamics in a strange city. They have too long a learning curve. Brown learned nothing. He thinks he is still in Dallas.

The next mayor and city council must change the city ordinance to hire a police superintendent. They must eliminate the nationwide search for a police superintendent. Police Superintendents must come from the rank-and-file leadership. These leaders know the city, neighborhoods, community groups, and how things work. They have all the requisites to take charge on day one. There is no need for a learning curve. They also know they could be fired on day two, so they will do their best or face the consequences.

Lori Lightfoot does not deserve a second term as mayor. Unfortunately, most of those running against her are not much better, and a few would be worse. Too few alderpersons are vocal about the lack of public safety. The few who are vocal pull their punches. The city council should demand Lightfoot fire Brown. Yet, not one alderperson comes forward to speak the unspeakable. They too, failed us.

Chicago is no longer the city that works. The most important city service is public safety. If the public is not safe, the city cannot work.

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