Legal Controls on Antisocial Behavior in Chicago

mingyue-sun-153025-300x169The crime that is antisocial behavior is not marked by some grand event or big scandal that can be curtailed through legal controls. Rather, it is a series of events and misdemeanors that eventually add up to a toxic atmosphere of disorder in the streets of Chicago. Indeed, this is the type of crime that is most likely to be closer to the citizenry because it happens to them on a daily basis. The fact that the crimes, when looked at as individual incidents rather than as a whole, do not meet the gravity and sensationalism that is required to capture the attention of our contemporary 24-hour media cycle means that victims often suffer in silence. They protest, but when they realize that nothing is going to be done about it, they accept antisocial behavior as part of the cost of living in some parts of Chicago.

From a legal point of view, this is a situation that is no longer sustainable. There is an expectation that the residents of Chicago will be able to enjoy their neighborhoods in peace without being disturbed by criminals. At the same time, the legislation must be written in such a way as not to go overboard. The fight against crime and its causes can seep into hyperbole and grand political gestures that do not deal with the underlying problems. For example, legislating against drunken behavior is not enough when youth are idle due to unemployment. The authorities must take a systemic and holistic approach to resolving these entrenched problems.

Setting up a Reasonable and Workable Regime

The first thing that has been identified in the existing literature is the need to intervene early. Many of the serious criminals of today started as petty thieves and vandals. They were either ignored by the criminal justice system or incarcerated for inordinately long periods of time. During that incarceration, they learned new and serious techniques of crime that turned them into hardened and prolific offenders. If the legislators were humble enough to look carefully before passing yet another meaningless law, they would realize that a lot of the antisocial behavior that we see on streets starts in the schools. That is when children who are poorly socialized begin to rebel against society with serious consequences for those who live with them.

The notion of a no-go-area might be dismissed as a myth by those who want to argue that Chicago is one of the safest cities in the US. However, the reality is that many people feel trapped by their own communities. They dare not go out, particularly in the night, because they know that they are going to be harassed, attacked, or even robbed. The fact that the prosecution of these offenses has not always been well-organized means that the potential criminals also know that they are at liberty to continue offending without anticipating any serious consequences.

The Legal Response

Antisocial behavior is considered to be the poor relation of defense cases, one in which the mantra of community policing does not always work. The offenders are typically not interesting, and the victims are, for the most part, reluctant to go through a lengthy court process that might end up cross-examining them instead of providing support. The media only takes a passing interest, and therefore, it is not even guaranteed that success will raise the profile of the attorney. Nevertheless, those who have a service calling may be inspired to take on cases in which the defendant is most indigent. They may take on these cases for no other reason rather than to prevent an injustice from being committed. For professional legal counsel on your antisocial behavior case, contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at 312-560-7100.

(Image courtesy of Mingyue Sun)

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