In 2021, Chicago set a 25-year record for the number of reported homicides. In 2022, Chicago police are being chastised for making a record low number of arrests. According to recent data, arrests have been made in only 12% of reported cases which is the lowest number since the statistics were first recorded in 2001. Additionally, murders are up a reported 3% since 2020 and sexual assaults have climbed 27%.
What’s going on? Well, the answer, predictably, falls along political lines. Conservatives want to blame “woke reforms” for the lack of arrests while “woke reformers” are blaming the police for “malicious compliance” with newer policies aimed at reducing police interactions.
Going Out There and Not Doing Anything
Last year, the death of Chicago police officer Ella French hit the CPD hard. She was the first officer killed since Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office. At the time of the shooting, 38 officers had been shot or shot at in 2021. In this case, French and another officer received gunfire in response to a traffic stop. French was killed and the other officer was wounded. Three suspects were eventually apprehended for the shooting.
Another issue is all those woke reforms. What woke reforms are police officers talking about? Well, cashless bail, releasing more suspects on ankle monitors, and refusing to engage in chases over minor offenses. Additionally, the threshold for proving felony cases is so high, that many police do not want to engage with criminals carrying guns. Is the Chicago PD just going to work, not doing anything, and collecting a check? Is this essentially a silent protest?
What Do the Statistics Mean?
Arrest rates hardly tell the story of effective policing. Arresting more people does not necessarily translate to a safer community. “Woke reforms” do not necessarily mean fewer crimes should be prosecuted. In fact, woke reforms center on the type of policing that should be done, diversifying police services to manage mental health crises, and mostly avoiding preventable deaths.
There are two types of policing. There is patrolling and investigation. Most of the problems that happen are related to patrolling. Avoiding chases that can cause collateral damage to both police officers and the general public is a way to keep both safe. Since keeping the public safe is the job of the police, it is not a woke reform to change tactics that put the public in danger. It is just common sense. Chicago is not the only city to implement a policy like this.
The political maneuvering against these reforms, however, needs to cast the situation in a light that places the public in more danger. Since danger to the public is why police exist, it is hard to justify hunting the public just because a potential crime has been committed. Meanwhile, the communities that need a police presence the most, tend not to have it their communities. Communities that can benefit from increased police presence are actually being harmed by it.
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David Freidberg represents the interests of those charged with serious crimes in Chicago. Call today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.