Occurrences of every one of the six major crimes in Chicago have risen since Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson assumed office in May 2023, according to The Center Square.
Although the mayor claimed his safety response during his first few months in office has been “tremendous,” 41 more murders, more 38 deadly shootings and more 4,321 car thefts occurred during his first 90 days in office compared to the first 90 days of his predecessor, former mayor Lori Lightfoot, according to The Center Square.
This increase in crime coincides with a current shortage of more than 1,000 officers in Chicago and a 50% drop in arrests since 2019, Illinois Policy reported.
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“[W]e. . . have to make sure that we are providing support for our police officers,” Johnson told NBC Chicago. “What I’ve said repeatedly – and law enforcement agrees with me – we’re asking way too much from police officers.”
Johnson evaded a direct response when asked about whether he planned to hire more officers to combat the shortage in the city, NBC Chicago reported.
“I know there are people, some people that are accustomed to a dictatorial style. That is not my style,” Johnson said, according to NBC Chicago.
Chicago has already spent $126 million in police overtime pay and is set to surpass the $210 million spent in 2022 for overtime, according to Illinois Policy.
“We’re really working our officers to a nub,” Fred Waller, the interim police superintendent for Chicago, said in June, according to WGN news. “We’re canceling days off all the time.”
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Overall crime to date in Chicago is up 82% from 2021, according to a report released by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The same report shows that motor vehicle thefts increased the most out of the six major crime categories, increasing 223% from 2021.
CPD said that these motor thefts often occur in a connection with robbing sprees in the city, according to WTTW News. Only 4% of these vehicle thefts were solved in 2022 because officers had to focus their minimal resources on more “serious” crimes.
Johnson worked as a Chicago school teacher until 2018, when he became the commissioner of Cooke County’s first district, according to his mayoral campaign page. Johnson beat Paul Vallas after a close runoff election, and reportedly said he would turn to a more “holistic approach to public safety” that relied less on police action, according to Politico.
Seven people were killed and 32 wounded in shooting incidents, including 15 teenagers, over the weekend starting Aug. 18, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The victims included a 17-year-old girl who died just days before starting her senior year of high school and a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the head and chest multiple times, according to Fox News.
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