Chicago's crime crisis and the 'progressives'

This past Memorial Day weekend was a bloodbath in the streets of Chicago.  Over the three-day holiday weekend, 53 people were shot, 11 fatally, as violence continues to plague the Windy City.

According to newly elected Mayor Brandon Johnson, "The violence our city experienced this weekend is intolerable.  It produced pain and trauma that devastated communities across Chicago, and my heart breaks for everyone affected.  That's why as mayor, I am committed to leveraging every single resource at our disposal to protect every single life in our city."

Unfortunately, Johnson's words ring hollow for Chicagoans who have been living in abject fear for several years while so-called progressive leaders constantly tout that they are doing all that they can to fight the steep rise in crime that has made the city practically unlivable.

Johnson's predecessor, Lori Lightfoot, echoed similar sentiments throughout her tenure as mayor.  However, as the record shows, her progressive policies made matters far worse, not better.

Consider: over the past four years, according to the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the murder rate has increased by 23 percent, robberies are up by 28 percent, thefts have gone up by 46 percent, and motor vehicle thefts (also known as carjackings) have skyrocketed by an astounding 236 percent.

Since Lightfoot became mayor in 2019, Chicago has seen an uptick in criminal complaints every single year.  And during Johnson's short time in office, this trend has continued.  So far, under Johnson, every single category of criminal complaints has risen, including an 11-percent uptick in murder, a 16-percent surge in robberies, and a mind-boggling 137 percent increase in carjackings.

Both Lightfoot and Johnson have clearly stated that they favor defunding the police.  For instance, Lightfoot slashed the CPD budget by $80 million in 2021, following national calls for less police funding in the wake of the George Floyd/BLM protests.

In 2020, Johnson articulated his stance on police defunding, saying, "I'm absolutely confident that we will be the generation that responds and reacts to the global movement that is calling for redirecting money away from policing and militarizing police forces and directing dollars into job opportunities, transportation, health care and housing for people."

Over the past few years, Johnson has doubled down on his defund the police rhetoric, declaring before the election, "I don't look at it as a slogan.  It's an actual political goal."

Well, actions have consequences.  And words carry weight.  Since 2019, the CPD has lost 13 percent of its active-duty offices, which equates to 1,700 fewer police officers on the streets.

However, one can also surmise that the anti-police propaganda coming from City Hall over the past few years has also emboldened criminals.

Like many big cities under decades of Democratic control (Chicago has not had a Republican mayor since 1931), Chicago has not only embraced defunding the police, but become a haven for criminals.

Lightfoot and Johnson have a long history of excusing criminal behavior, blaming it on systemic racism, poverty, and a whole host of other preposterous anecdotes.  What's more, Chicago's so-called justice system has transformed into a revolving door for criminals.  As any Chicagoan can tell you, Cook County attorney general Kim Foxx seems much more concerned with coddling criminals than she is putting them behind bars.

No wonder Chicago has become a lawless town, where it is literally dangerous to walk around the city in the middle of the day.

Unfortunately, I think things are probably going to get worse before they get better.  After four years of Lightfoot's soft-on-crime policies, Chicagoans elected an even softer-on-crime candidate in Johnson.  Sadly, the people of Chicago, who by and large are law-abiding, good people, must now suffer through another four years of upside-down progressive policies.

However, the onus is on the millions of Chicagoans who desire safety.  Next time, don't elect another progressive politician to represent your city, lest you pay the price with four more years of unfettered violence and empty promises.

Chris Talgo ( is editorial director at The Heartland Institute.

Image: Pexels — Cottonbro Studios.

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