There has been a spate of violent crimes in Chicago and the suburbs of Cook County, but I will focus on what happened in Chicago recently.
Like many of you, I make frequent trips to Chicago for entertainment, plays, hotel stays, and dinners. However, for me, and I suspect for you, that hasn’t happened in a long time. I’m sure at this point you don’t even have to ask why.
I can tell you that from my 13 years as police chief in Riverside to over 37 years as a police officer, the only way Chicago is going to do anything positive about public safety is to stop spending our hard earned money there. Politicians will take note of the loss of tourism and tax revenue due to crime, as well as the loss of the city’s positive image as a safe destination.
There’s no doubt that suburbanites across the state are heading to Chicago for nightlife and entertainment, but I suspect not now. I suggest we stop spending money and traveling to Chicago until public safety changes.
You must have read in a Chicago newspaper or heard on television or radio about the ongoing violence Chicago is experiencing. Last month, there was a drive-by shooting on the Loop, and criminals stormed the block. In downtown Chicago, there have been incidents of robberies, homicides, carjackings, retail shoplifting takeovers, and purse snatching, just to name a few. It happens every day.
Despite these violent crimes in downtown Chicago, city leaders in 2022 have done little to combat it.
It truly shows how bad policing is in Chicago and across the country. You may ask why. It’s all because of poor police leadership, low public support, low political support – extremely low – and the constant “society without police” rhetoric that’s popping up across the country.
Chicago has taken some steps to reduce crime, but not enough. Simply deploying police on every corner and adding uniformed police officers in downtown Chicago is a positive step forward, but it is not the overall answer. These steps should involve not only the police, but prosecutors, judges, the juvenile court system, school administrators, and most importantly, parents.
If you haven’t noticed the spike in juvenile crime in Chicago, you’re not facing reality. It is common for young teenagers to commit homicide, robbery, carjacking and many other violent crimes. Recently, an 11-year-old was arrested for carjacking at gunpoint. If you thought it didn’t start at home, you’d be wrong. Yes, even parents need to take responsibility.
So when city leaders are doing little to reduce violent crime, I ask you to do what you can and not spend your hard-earned dollars in Chicago. Believe me, Chicago relies on suburban dollars to fund everything in its budget, including police, public works, paved streets, and putting dollars back into the entertainment district.
Until you can drive into Chicago or take the train and walk down the Magnificent Mile without fear of a drive-by shooting, stabbing, or being the victim of a violent robber robbery, just spend your money elsewhere. Once you do, change will happen.