Crime in Chicago is a problem. We have one of the highest crime rates in the country. No neighborhood is safe and sound. Crime happens all over the city, from stealing cars to shootings, killings, rape, robberies and so on. Crime knows no neighborhood.
The criminal is no longer afraid of the police. Policemen are too often targets. National politicians like Trump and the presidential candidates use Chicago’s violence as a whipping post.
The media reports crime like it’s a sports game. Chicago has become numb to the statistics. It is estimated that one’s chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Chicago is one in 23.
The murders of innocent children, babies in fact, are always heartfelt for me personally. Every time I think we have gotten to the worst, another worse happens. I wonder when does Chicago say damn it, enough!
We read during the long holiday weekends about how many policemen are on the street and then on Monday morning, we get the box score about how many murders and shootings there were over the holidays.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot is determined to conquer this crime, as she has included accountability Mondays in her standard meetings. But is it enough to just have the police in the meetings? What about the parents, the preachers, the teachers?
Chicago is sick and tired of the crime and the police chief gets the blame for it. That’s not fair. Superintendent Eddie Johnson is not the blame for crime in Chicago. Superintendent Eddie Johnson is the right man in the right place at the right time.
I like the fact that he is Black and that he has been promoted through the ranks of the police department. He is not perfect – no one is in that type of job – but the blame he receives from all parties is not fair.
Sorry folks, but Johnson is not responsible for the random shooters. He is not responsible for the drive-by shootings. He is not responsible for the murders in the nightclub. He is not responsible for the shooter who shot the baby, the mother, and even the policeman.
Chicago has seen a significant drop in murders and gun violence for the second year in a row, according to police. Across the city, there were 100 fewer murders last year than in 2017, when 650 people were killed. Overall, crime is down 10 percent since 2016, the year Chicago recorded its highest murder rate in two decades, with 762 people killed.
Chicago police credit the drop in violence partly to “investments in data-driven policing and the creation of strategic decision support centers in 20 of the city’s 22 police districts,” according to a Chicago police news release.
But Johnson is constantly in the blame seat. Damn if you do and damn if you don’t. For the holidays, like Memorial Day and Labor Day, when additional policemen are placed on the street, with street patrols, horse patrols and bike patrols in key places, then the news headlines are about police overtime. Sorry folks, you can’t have it both ways.
Social Media’s Role
Crime is crime and we all have to assume responsibility. Parents everywhere need to step up to their children’s misdoings. So often parents don’t accept full responsibility for their “innocent” children, who wouldn’t dare engage in wrong doings. But somehow along the way they did, by associating with the wrong person or the wrong gang.
Social media plays a role in the crime of today whether we admit it or not. Facebook is a part of young American life and signals and conversations and gatherings are conducted on social media.
Far too often, parents, teachers, and other authority figures don’t know what little sweet Johnny is really doing behind the scenes. And then when little sweet Johnny does something, everyone is surprised except his classmates, who were perhaps his Facebook friends.
Rules need to be in place at school, at church, and at home for social media. There needs to be a social media watch.
I would be the first to say that elected public officials at every level need to step up to solve the crime problem, and that’s true, but the reality that American youth are violent is real.
It is not racial, but it is different. All of the kids are violent over minor matters. Black kids shoot each other in drive-bys and at parties and for gym shoes and hats; White kids shoot up classrooms and engage in mass murders. All of them bear watching.
So, what is the public official to do? You can change the law, but if you go back and investigate the mass shootings, the guns are legally obtained. So, even with the laws in place, what do you do with the crazy one, the angry young man, the racist, the boy or girl who didn’t get invited to the party, the one who is just a plan weirdo, or the one who lives in isolation?
The police can’t stop him even as they anticipate him, because the laws are such that a person must do something before the police can act.
Crime needs to be examined at every level. The police superintendent does not have a magic wand to stop the crime and neither does the mayor. They only make laws and enforce and anticipate.
Removing Eddie Johnson from his post would be nonsense. Crime has gone down under his tenure, so he is doing something right.
There are a lot of reasons for crime. Poverty is key. The ex-cons needs jobs and/or retraining when they come out of jail. The superintendent is not responsible for that.
A new superintendent is not the answer. How about looking parents in the face?