Chicago Mayor Lightfoot Commits Additional $411 Million to Dubious Community Safety Plan

Many neighborhoods covered by Lightfoot’s “Our City, Our Safety” alternative policing plan are now more dangerous than before.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Amidst last year’s nationwide “defund the police” movement, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new, “holistic” approach to community safety, which focused on the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
  • Since then and according to the Chicago Sun-Times, “the data shows violence has not decreased in most of the communities targeted by the mayor’s safety plan.”
  • Indeed, ten of the fifteen neighborhoods that the plan targets are now more dangerous than before.
  • All the same, Lightfoot now plans to pump an additional $411 million into the plan.
CHICAGO CRIME AND POLITICS:
  • Lightfoot’s plan funds programs focused on violence prevention, street outreach, affordable housing, job training, health and wellness, and community development. “We may not call all of these things part of the tools of public safety, but they absolutely fundamentally are,” the mayor said. “Because when people are healthy, when communities are vibrant, when folks feel like they have ownership of the geography under their feet, communities thrive.”
  • The mayor’s announcement comes while Chicago suffers from spikes in violent and property crimes. Most notably, homicides and shootings skyrocket under Lightfoot’s leadership.
  • Furthermore, the Sun-Times raises questions not only about the plan’s effectiveness, but also about where the money is actually spent. “$50 million [went] to more than two dozen organizations for street outreach, victim services, transitional jobs, scholarships and domestic violence. But more than half the money is not earmarked for any particular neighborhood. And there is little information available on what exactly these groups are doing and how effective they’ve been.”
  • “[I]t has been difficult to gauge whether money spent so far has been going where it’s needed most.”
  • The Sun-Times also points to the fact that most of the plan’s funding comes from the federal government. “Over 70% of the city’s violence prevention budget through 2024 is funded by federal American Rescue Plan money, a onetime stimulus shot.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The Chicago crime spree is emblematic of the brazen lawlessness that currently grips major cities nationwide.
  • During, after, and since the 2020 George Floyd protests and riots, felonious activity surged in urban areas: everything from smash-and-grab looting to shoot-outs in the streets.
  • These crime waves are marked not only by their sheer size but also by their character, as observers liken scenes in these cities to the third world.