I have a pretty good idea what a number of you will be thinking as you read this post:
How’s that gun “control” working out for you, Chicago?
From John Byrne, David Heinzmann, and Bob Secter on the Chicago Tribune website late last night:
Following the most violent January in more than a decade and the high-profile slaying of a 15-year-old high school band majorette, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his police chief moved closer than ever Thursday to reintroducing the very police strategy they dumped when they took over in 2011.
Emanuel said he would move 200 officers off desk duty to bolster the size of roving teams aimed at suppressing outbreaks of murderous violence that have been on the rise in the city for more than a year.
“The most violent January in more than a decade.”
According to the Crime in Chicago blog yesterday, 44 people were murdered and 160 were shot in the city last month.
Now, back on New Year’s Eve, I noted that at the end of a year in which Chicago surpassed 500 murders (534 according to CIC), the number of beat cops was less than before Rahm Emanuel became mayor.
So, why not just hire more police officers then?
Byrne, Heinzmann, and Secter (sounds like a law firm) added:
The head of the police union said retirements and a lack of new hiring amid tight budget years has reduced the size of the force well below what is needed to keep the streets safe.
“No matter how City Hall slices the numbers or spins this issue, the fact remains we have less officers on the street now than when the mayor was elected,” said Mike Shields, head of the Fraternal Order of Police.
At the news conference announcing his new plans, Emanuel said “you don’t ask the taxpayers to pay for additional cops until you make sure you’re using every cop on the payroll today effectively.”
Personally, I think City Hall is well-aware of the significant, fast-approaching fiscal challenges that are in store for Chicago, so basically “what you see is what you get” could be the case for Chicago Police Department manpower. As things stand, taxes will be going up- significantly- but one has to wonder how much of it will be earmarked for the following, which I blogged about back on August 1:
The “Windy City” has a $25 billion pension crisis that will require property taxes to be doubled by 2015 (from an anticipated $476 million this year to $1.2 billion in 2015) if no changes are made to both retirement benefits and City of Chicago employee contributions.
Remember that $2.98 billion the city received when the Chicago Skyway and parking meters were privatized under former Mayor Richard M. Daley? Only $623 million remains.
The analysis comes on the heels of year-end audit findings that show Chicago is in the midst of a debt crisis, adding $465 million of debt in 2011 to a total long-term debt that’s sitting at just over $27 billion.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
Chicagoans- be prepared to bust out those wallets very shortly.
To wrap things up, one sentence in that Tribune piece really stood out for me. Byrne, Heinzmann, and Secter wrote:
But the events of this week show that tragedy can strike anywhere, and calibrating how and where to stretch those resources is difficult in a city with a deeply entrenched culture of violence.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
“Culture of violence?”
Sounds like Second City Cop wasn’t too far off the mark with that “Culture of Death” comment the other day.
Watch your six, Chicago.
By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)
Byrne, John, Heinzmann, David and Secter, Bob. “Street violence spurs shift in police strategy.” Chicago Tribune. 31 Jan. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-emanuel-mccarthy-officers-reassigned-20130201,0,7276684,full.story). 1 Feb. 2013.
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