News and Commentary

Lightfoot’s $411 Million Crime Reduction Plan Will Fund Government Housing, Public Parks, Other ‘Holistic’ Services
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a Chicago Police Department promotion and graduation ceremony on October 20, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The mayor has been sparring with the union that represents Chicago police after the city ordered police to state their COVID-19 vaccination status. With only about 65 percent of the city's police in compliance the city has started to place those who have not on unpaid leave. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a plan to reduce violent crime — by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on social programs.

Violent crime in Chicago has increased by 7.5% since 2019 — including a 100% increase in fatal shootings for some neighborhoods. To address this, the Democratic official’s “Our City, Our Safety” initiative, first introduced over a year ago, — which comes with a $411.6 million price tag — will take a “holistic approach” to violent crime prevention.

“We may not call all of these things part of the tools of public safety, but they absolutely fundamentally are,” Lightfoot said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “Because when people are healthy, when communities are vibrant, when folks feel like they have ownership of the geography under their feet, communities thrive.”

According to the outlet, Lightfoot’s plan will include:

  • $85 million on violence intervention, including victim services, street outreach and other violence reduction programs
  • $62 million for affordable housing and homeless programs
  • $80 million for assistance to families and youth jobs
  • $40 million for health and wellness programs
  • $114.6 million for community development and parks
  • $30 million for small business

The plan targets 15 of the city’s most violent areas. Since the onset of COVID-19, several of the areas have seen sustained increases in fatal shootings — for example, a 450% rise in West Pullman, a 104% rise in North Lawndale, and a 100% rise in East Garfield Park.

In addition to homicide, Chicago has not been immune to a nationwide trend of smash-and-grab looting — in which packs of thieves raid retail stores, often assaulting employees.

“They went for the more expensive bikes,” BFF Bikes owner Gillian Forsyth told CBS Chicago. “They kind of knew what they were looking for.”

“It’s frightening. It’s really frightening,” she continued. “They ran off down the alley next to the church here, and you can see them put the bikes in their car — and they just drove off.”

“When we’re like, as a small business, worried about constantly being robbed like that — we’re very easy to break into — and we’re not getting any response,” Forsyth added, “and I’m not blaming the police or anything — I’m sure they have a multitude of cases. There were five bike shops broken into in the space of two or three weeks. There doesn’t seem to be a collaborative effort, to solve this problem.”

Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Department is demanding that actor Jussie Smollett — who drained over $130,000 in public safety resources by staging a fake hate crime — repay the taxpayer funds.

“The City filed a civil lawsuit against Jussie Smollett to recover costs incurred by the Chicago Police Department investigating what the City believed to be Smollett’s false police reports that he was a victim of a hate crime,” the city said in a statement. “While using a different standard of proof, the jury’s finding of guilt convicting Jussie Smollett of criminal charges stemming from the incident confirms that the City was correct in bringing its civil lawsuit.”

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