I often hear the complaint that our area does not have enough police officers. I certainly agree we can use more officers, but I want to bring to your attention an article from the Chicago News Cooperative that provides some perspective to this concern.
The article revealed that city neighborhoods with higher violent crime rates, mainly on the City’s south and west sides, have disproportionately fewer police officers than so-called lower crime neighborhoods.
Using recently released Chicago Police Department statistics, the report revealed the 24th Police District, which encompasses the 49th Ward, has more police officers per violent crime than all but two of the City’s 25 police districts.
For a copy of the article, CLICK HERE. The table which sets forth the number of sworn officers in each police district, including the 24th District, appears at the end of the article.
My opponent in the last election called for the redeployment of officers to higher crime areas, which I strongly took issue with. I certainly believe the city’s south and west sides deserve more police officers, but not at the expense of our neighborhood. Over the last twenty years, our neighborhood has made significant progress in the fight against crime, with serious crime having dropped over 50%. But as recent incidentsindicate, we are far from where we need to be.
I applaud Mayor Emanuel’s initiative that removed more than one thousand police officers from desk jobs and specialized units and placed them back on the beat. As a result, the 24th Police District received additional beat officers, and the south and west sides received even more. That is how it should be.
However, I will fight tooth and nail any plan to reduce the 24th District’s sworn personnel by removing them to other areas of the city. Fortunately, Mayor Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have resisted such proposals so far.
If additional officers are needed in high crime areas and we have moved every possible officer out of a desk job and on to the street, then we should begin an honest discussion with the taxpayers about the cost and effectiveness of hiring additional police officers. But any discussion of “redeploying” officers is a non-starter as far as I’m concerned.
I invite you to share your thoughts with me.