The Politics of Crime: What Chicago’s Mayoral Election Reveals About US Chicago

There are a few issues other than maintaining clean alleys which most Chicagoans agree. But in last week’s mayoral primary, a majority of the city’s voters ousted incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

With just under 17% of the vote, Lightfoot became the first mayor to miss a runoff election since Jane Byrne’s loss in the 1983 primary.But the recent elections weren’t Lightfoot’s brilliant rebukewho commanded third place with a loyal base of predominantly black voters in the city’s south and west sides, demanded a radically different approach to fighting crime amid the recovery of the pandemic, leaving one candidate focused on law and order, while another candidate wanted a boost to the social safety net.

A month from now, the general election could herald how Democratic voters across the country think about crime. The topic is a deeply politicized topic amid the rise in violence following the onset of Covid-19 and widespread calls for police reform after George. Killing Floyd. Chicago is her third-largest city in the United States, and its nearly three million inhabitants are deeply segregated, with whites, blacks, and Hispanics roughly one-third her size. While on the surface it may appear to be a credible Democratic stronghold, it actually encompasses a broad spectrum of moderate liberals, progressives and even some Trump supporters. The latter was concentrated among police officers, firefighters and other civil servants living on the Northwest side..

At a time when places like New York City and Washington, D.C., are reassessing their approach to public safety issues and rebuilding their communities, Chicago’s election in April shows how some big cities are moving forward. may inform you of

W.When Lightfoot took power in 2019, the political outsider made history as Chicago’s first black and openly gay mayor, with an optimistic message that she would “bring the light.” Controlled all 50 wards of the city.

But Lightfoot’s campaign promises of transparency were shattered once she took office, especially when it came to public safety.After Chicago police illegally raided the home of Anjanet Young, a black woman, in 2019 and forced her to stand naked until female cops arrived, Lightfoot said she had been accused of the incident until local news told the story. claimed to have known nothing about. Her own attorney tried to stop a local TV station from showing a video of the failed raid Lightfoot himself later admitted he knew of the raid before the news broke. Momentum The Breonna Taylor Case – Lightfoot opposed the bill He argued that it could hinder the police’s prompt response.

At the same time, Lightfoot engaged in a legal battle with the city’s police union, the Police Fraternity, over mandatory vaccines for civil servants. turn your back on lightfoot 2021 years.

In February’s primary, Lightfoot tried to pitch himself as a moderate candidate and stick the needle. But many voters chose one of his two directions, the most progressive and conservative option. The confrontation between Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson on his April 4th represents a duel of criminal justice philosophies.

Vallas, the former CEO of Chicago’s public schools and ninth-place finisher in the 2019 mayoral election, ripped out a page from the Republican playbook with his message of law and order. Put it at the forefront and declared public safety to be a “civil right.” He also received support from the Police Fraternity. President Trump Supporter John Catanzarapledged to fill Chicago’s 1,700 police vacancies.

Paul Vallas is endorsed by the Police Fraternity. Photo: Kamil Kurzaczynski/Getty Images

As a former teacher and Deputy Political Director of the Chicago Teachers Union, Johnson’s resume immediately puts him at odds with Valas. Critics say 50 of Chicago’s public schools have largely been prepared to close. in the Black and Brown district under former mayor Rahm Emmanuel. Johnson’s progressive approach to criminal justice includes eliminating mental health hotlines and no-knock warrants. He also promised to terminate the city’s contract with ShotSpotter, which was discovered by the city’s inspector general.Rarely leads to evidence of gun-related crimes”. In the televised debate, both Lightfoot and Valas supported police continuing to use acoustic gunshot detection tools.

Johnson and Valas agree on some policy issues Changes to the Chicago Police Department patrol plan, including deploying more officers during high-crime hours. Both have vowed to increase the number of detectives so the CPD can solve more murders, but Johnson Dodged the question of whether to cut CPD’s nearly $2 billion budgetBut in most matters they represent a very different direction of the city.

Constance Mixon, director of the urban studies program at Elmhurst University and professor of political science, said: “This is the story of progressives and Brandon Johnson, but it is also the story of more conservative voters. I was calling the sympathy of.

L.Like other cities across the United States, crime intensified during the pandemic in Chicago. The number of homicides he had been steadily declining since 2016, jumped from 500 in 2019 to 776 in 2020.Homicides he said dropped in 2022, but still Comparable to rates Chicago saw in the 1990s.

“Cases such as theft and robbery have been on the decline over the last 20 to 30 years, and the last few years have been no exception. Even overall violence has not increased significantly,” said the criminal justice professor. said David Olson, co-director of Loyola University’s Center for Criminal Justice Studies. “The political challenge is that crimes on the rise are the most serious and most visible crimes in terms of media coverage and public attention, and murder is the most serious crime. Given the facts, it makes sense.”

For years, crime has disproportionately affected black and brown communities on the south and west sides of the city. But since the pandemic began, it’s been on the rise not just in those areas, but mostly in white and wealthy neighborhoods, spurring renewed anger and renewed attention to the issue. Carjacking in Lincoln Square, gold coast robberyand Kidnapping in Wrigleyville It has shook residents and dominated local headlines.

“Wealthier, white-major parts of the city have been safe for years, violence persists in plain sight in the South and West, and the kind of attention and response this issue is currently getting. Executive Director of the University of Chicago Crime Institute and the University of Chicago Institute of Education, leaders say public safety strategies are designed to make parts of Chicago safer at the expense of other parts of Chicago. Ander added that we should recognize that we should be looking at persistent problems across the city, rather than just looking at it.

While the post-pandemic rise in crime has frustrated white Chicagoans, black Chicagoans who have long grappled with the city’s crime problem have left in droves over the past decade.According to recent census data, blacks in Chicago Population decreased by nearly 10% Political strategist Delmarie Cobb attributes this population exodus to two factors: crime and schools.

“These two issues are front and center for blacks, while whites may be experiencing crime for the first time, but they are fine in school,” Cobb said. “People new to crime at this level want someone who can commit crime right away, so crime-strong candidates often get all the attention and support.”

How our two mayoral candidates deliver their crime message to black voters is the Major, Johnson drew support from white progressives in the North, but to defeat Vallas it would take Western Hispanics who voted for his progressive rival, Congressman Jesús G “Chuy” Garcia, and We need to bring the black voters who supported Lightfoot to court. south side. Vallas has already sought to shore up support from black politicians, with significant support from former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Lightfoot ally Alderman Walter Burnett. Lightfoot’s rival in the 2019 election, Toni Prekwinkle, and U.S. Congressman Danny Davis, who represents much of the South and West Sides. backed johnson.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson’s progressive approach to criminal justice includes the establishment of mental health hotlines and the repeal of no-knock warrants. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Mr Johnson may struggle to stay on the middle road in the general election. I’ve tried to distance myself from past comments.He will fill vacancies in the police force, Johnson said block club chicago He said hiring more officers would not solve the city’s crime problem, instead saying that funds could be reallocated by changing the roles of officers and hiring additional emergency services responders.

during one time primary discussionLightfoot questioned how Johnson could increase the number of detectives without increasing the police budget.

“He says he wants to promote detectives,” said Lightfoot. “If we promote detectives, we have to backfill our patrol officers. It makes us less safe.”

Craig Futterman, a professor of clinical law at the University of Chicago Law School and director of the school’s civil rights and police accountability project, said Johnson could reallocate funds rather than increase CPD’s budget. to object.

“Within a certain budget, we can have fewer police and have street police mode, investigative mode,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily cost you more money.”

For Vallas, the support from the Police Fraternity would be either a winning advantage or an Achilles heel. The group welcomed Florida’s conservative governor Ron DeSantis in a February speech, and its president, his Catanzara, defended the January 6 mob, Compare Lightfoot’s Vaccine Directive with Nazi Germany.

But more than expressing support, voters may make choices based on gut feelings about what is needed to reduce crime, Olson said.

“For a lot of people, their gut feeling is that more police would help deal with the problem, and that’s more complicated than that,” he said.

“So if a candidate presents this candid opinion, saying ‘we need more police’ could sway some people. This is a long-term problem and we need a long-term solution’, they may resonate because they think that’s probably a more realistic understanding. I have. ” The Politics of Crime: What Chicago’s Mayoral Election Reveals About US Chicago

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