Although most sorts of reported crimes are down across the City, it seems like you can’t walk past a television these days without seeing a story about another killing. The stories - all tragedies to someone’s family, to the neighbors on a certain block, to members of a particular church congregation - have a certain sameness. Most of the victims and perpetrators are young, not well-educated, not well employed, not unknown to the criminal justice system; and they live near each other. Most of the excuses offered by the perpetrators make little sense to most of us.
Too many murders. Why can’t they (the police, the judges, the jailers, the prosecutors) stop them?
It isn’t because they don’t try - and it isn’t because they don’t care.
Chief Joe Mokwa and his commanders study crime reports looking for trends - and, when they find them, they deploy their officers to suppress the most dangerous and the most annoying crimes. The officers can’t be everywhere, but neither can the criminals.
Nearly 2,000 City employees carry guns or badges as police officers, deputies, rangers, corrections officers, marshals, or law enforcement administrators. City taxpayers pay a couple hundred million dollars every year to deter, arrest, process, try, and incarcerate bad guys. The City spends additional dollars to educate and retrain offenders, hoping to make them productive members of our community. We ask the prosecutors not to bargain criminals back onto to the streets; we ask judges not to impose weak sentences.
I have talked to every group that will listen about helping build stronger families, create better schools, occupy kids after schools, offer better training and jobs to young City residents, and get guns off our streets.
We’ve made progress, but a May of murders disguises it.