Chicago has most of the tools already to fight violent crime without additional federal help

By John Ruberry

Another federal crackdown on guns in Chicago is coming. Just like in 2017 when the Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force was created by the federal government. Obviously it didn’t work well–because here we are in 2021 coping with out of control violent crime in America’s third-largest city.

According to Hey Jackass here are Chicago’s recent homicide and shooting totals:

Year       Homicides  Wounded
2021 
(to date)   443        2,023
2020	    456	       1,902
2019	    303	       1,307
2018	    338	       1,433
2017	    425	       1,813
2016	    414	       2,050
2015	    283	       1,358
2014	    243	       1,227

Already as you can see more people have been wounded so far this year than in any year since 2014, with the exception of 2016. And there have been more homicides–the totals comprised by Hey Jackass include other deaths, such as self-defense shootings–than any year except 2020, when there were 456 homicides. We’re already at 443 with a little more than five months left in 2021.

“2020 did have a lot of shootings in it,” Saniie said. “But it’s also important to put this into perspective.”

Here’s your perspective, Saniie: As I wrote earlier in this entry, violence is out of control in Chicago. A few weeks ago I wrote, correctly of course, “Chicago has a street gang problem not a gun problem.” There are ten gang members for every cop in the city. But let’s talk about guns. Chicago has among the strictest gun laws in America. Oh, don’t believe the long-time apologists’ line that guns from out of state are responsibile for this, or previous, violent crime waves. David Harsanyi ripped that pathetic argument to shreds last year in the National Review. And of course those out of state guns don’t fire themselves.

Chicago has plenty of other laws on the books to fight crime. But Kim Foxx is not a forceful prosecutor. The essential website CWB Chicago, unlike the city’s mainstream media outlets, honestly reports on Chicago crime and holds no punches. Since New Year’s Day it has been documenting the people in Chicago “accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for another felony.” Many of those earlier crimes involve guns. So far CWB Chicago has found 30 such individuals.

According to the same site, 32 people “were charged with committing murder, attempted murder, or aggravated battery with a firearm while free on bail for serious felonies in 2020.”

I don’t have any firm numbers on people in Chicago charged with new felonies while on electronic surveillance because I can’t find any. Perhaps the Chicago Sun-Times, which deems itself “the Hardest Working Paper in America,” or the Chicago Tribune, both of which have greater resources than internet stand-alones, can find out how many ankle-bracelet offenders there are if they put forth the effort. Perhaps such work can reverse their long decline in revenue and subscribers. But alas, both newspapers have a narrative to advance. A false one when it comes to crime.

Even though she is a leftist ideologue like Foxx, Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, is not politically close with the Cook County state’s attorney. They may even hate each other. But on the issue of crime they are in lockstep. Last week Lightfoot said Chicago “can’t arrest its way” of of its violence crisis.

Perhaps she is right. But Chicago–and Cook County–can jail and imprison its way, at least for now, out of its violent crime outbreak. But that probably won’t happen. Last month Foxx said that she might drop many low-level charges–her office hasn’t said which alleged crimes would be covered–because of a backlog of cases dating to the 2020 lockdown. Crime very well may pay in Chicago. Foxx is a supporter of “affordable bail.” Meanwhile Illinois’ no cash bail law goes into effect in 2023, two months after Gov. JB Pritzker, who signed that bill into law, faces voters. Al Capone and his henchmen picked the wrong ’20s decade to commit crimes, for sure.

Presumably Cook County judges and Foxx’s attorneys are well-rested from an easy 2020. They need to work harder and fulfil their duty to protect the public. Foxx can put on her lawyer hat and pitch in and help out in the courtroom, although if I was a criminal and she was the lead attorney against me I’d be confident of my chances for an acquittal.

While I’m sure federal assistance will help in fighting violent crime in Chicago, many of the tools are already in place for Lightfoot and Foxx to clean up Chicago now.

Only the Chicago Police Department needs to bring back stop-and-frisk searches, allow foot chases again, and reinstate its gang crimes unit, for starters.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from suburban Cook County at Marathon Pundit. And no, I did not vote for Kim Foxx.

Chicago has a street gang problem not a gun problem

Gang temple in 2016 on Chicago’s South Side

By John Ruberry

Last week President Joe Biden and attorney general Merrick Garland announced the latest get-tough on illegal gun sales effort.

Unless I missed it, there was no mention from either men of the major underlying reason for most murders in big cities such as Chicago: out of control street gangs.

While it’s America’s third-largest city Chicago, with about 2.7 residents, has more gang members than any other–about 100,000

I’m having a heck of a time finding recent statistics on the percentage of shootings in Chicago that are gang-related–so my guess is that they are no longer being tabulated. Perhaps that has something to do with the monumentally stupid deciscion by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to eliminate Chicago’s gang crimes unit in 2012. His successor, leftist ideologue Lori Lightfoot, is unlikely to bring it back. Fortunately for decent Chicagoans there are less than two years left in her term.

However, while speaking of Chicago’s gang culture in 2015, then-Chicago Police superintendant Garry McCarthy said, “It’s very frustrating to know that it’s like seven percent of the population causes 80% of the violent crime.”

What about the shootings?

“Eighty-three percent of the shooting victims in Chicago are black,” Fox Chicago’s Mike Flannery said on his Flannery Fired Up show this weekend, “and about 96 percent are black and brown.” Of course not all shooting victims are gang members. Some are small children.

With such a small population committing so many violent crimes, it’s pretty easy to determine the most-direct way to attack violent crime in Chicago and other big cities. But big city mayors, all of whom are Democrats, don’t seem to be spoiling for this necessary fight against street gangs.

In Chicago it’s worse. Chicago magazine, in a 2011 article that has been sadly overlooked, “Gangs and Politicians in Chicago: An Unholy Alliance,” exposed several job-fair type meetings between aldermanic candidates and people representing street gangs. The messsage the organizer of those meetings, Hal Baskin, a candidate for the City Council that year and a former gang leader who died in 2018, received was clear to him. “Who do I need to be talking to so I can get the gangs on board?”

Gangs not only are part of the criminal culture of Chicago, but they are part of the political one as well. Which partly explains why politicians in Chicago regulary decry “gun violence” but not gang violence. Gangs and politics go back decades, including the time when Chicago was overwhelmingly white. While not a gang in the modern sense, the Hamburg Athletic Club, which did not peddle drugs, was involved in politics. The “Hamburgers” were blamed for some of the violence of the bloody 1919 Race Riot in Chicago, part of the tragic “Red Summer” that year. Three years after the riot future Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley was the president of the Hamburg Athletic Club. 

In 1984 while running for president, Jesse Jackson publicly thanked the infamous El Rukn gang for their help in a voter registration drive. The gang’s founder, Jeff Fort, is now an inmate at the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Jackson’s half-brother, Noah Robinson, is serving a life sentence for murder and racketeering schemes that involved the El Rukns. 

In the 1990s the Gangster Disciples gang, which was started by Larry Hoover, now a lifer at the supermax, founded a political organization, 21st Century V.O.T.E. They were organizing a national gang summit at the Congress Hotel in Chicago, where I was working at the time. Man oh man, that was a wretched experience. Oh, Al Sharpton was there. Isn’t that special!

Back to 2011:

According to that Chicago magazine article there were similar gang-pol gatherings before 2011. 

I have no proof but I suspect such meetings still occur. After all we are discussing Chicago, one of the most corrupt cities in America. 

Chicago’s aldermen are notoriously crooked, since 1973 over thirty members have been sentenced to federal prison. Do the math, that’s one “public official” locked away every 18 months.

So, how many Chicago public figures have ties, however casual, with gangs? We’ll probably never know. 

One current Chicago alderman who sees the truth on gangs is Raymond Lopez of the Southwest Side’s 15th Ward. “If you really want to get to what is at the heart of a lot of this [the violence], it is gangs, and it is the borderline collapse of the family unit in many of our neighborhoods,” Lopez told the Washington Examiner in a recent interview. “Lightfoot] has avoided calling out gangs in our community as a source of violence in our city.”

In a Tweet, Lopez offered indirect support to the “broken windows” theory of policing. Big time criminals also commit petty crimes. “In less than 24 hours, a new gang ‘family’ moved onto a block, they immediately opened a fire hydrant after settling in, and just moments ago took to shooting at a passing vehicle.” Lopez Tweeted two weeks ago. “The property owner can expect a call from me tomorrow. I want them gone. Now!”

Instead of “defunding the police” the far-left is now parsing their words, calling their approach “reimagining the police.” I’m calling for reimagining law enforcement. Federal authorities, to crush the gangs that have destroyed American cities, they need to aggressively utilize wiretaps, informants, and offering those who testify against gangs participation in the witness protection program.

Street gangs nation wide need to be neutered by the feds. Just like they did to the mafia.

It would take many years for such a crackdown to succeed but that should take care of the urban gun violence problem.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.