In a bloody weekend in Chicago, which has become all too familiar, twenty-four people were shot, five of them fatally. This violence follows the shooting of thirteen people in a park including a three-year-old child, shot in the jaw and listed in critical condition. All of these shootings appear to be gang related with innocent bystanders being caught in the crossfire. The majority of these were drive by shootings.
In response to the violence, Governor Quinn said he was open to discussing sending in reinforcements from the Illinois State Police to aid Chicago Police in dealing with the continuing and escalating violence. However, Quinn told reporters he hadn’t yet spoken with either Mayor Rahm Emanuel or Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. But if Chicago is going to rein in the violence, there is little question it will need help from the state.
Of greater importance than simply reining in the violence is how to bring it under control. Chicago differs from New York in that while there are still isolated inner city neighborhoods, more often than not, there is gentrification. Many areas in New York City that used to be considered “bad neighborhoods”, are either expensive or up and coming. Violence is therefore curtailed by socio-economic realities. In Chicago, that is not the case. There are many isolated neighborhoods on the south side for example that consist of old and dangerous projects. They are the same projects featured in the opening of the 70’s sitcom “Good Times”.
If Mayor Emanuel is going to bring the violence under control, he is going to need to implement policies similar to what New York City has done. 1) Stop and Frisk should be implemented immediately. It’s a sensible and legitimate policy for fighting crime. Law enforcement already knows the high risk neighborhoods, now it’s simply a matter of adopting preventative crime fighting measures which is exactly what Stop and Frisk allows. It’s not racist it’s simply common sense. More importantly, it’s effective. 2) There must be a zero tolerance policy for petty crimes such as turnstile jumping and panhandling. There is a direct correlation by these crimes and more serious crimes. 3) Law enforcement must go in and break up these gangs. Either arrest or shoot them but gang members can not be allowed to continue their wave of terror. Law enforcement must take back the streets block by block. The innocent citizens in these crime ridden neighborhoods have the right to expect that their children can play in the playground without being shot. But if Mayor Emanuel does nothing, the violence will continue to escalate and at some point, no one will be safe. Clearly, the lunatics are running the asylum.