Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week touted a fractional drop in murders and a modest reduction in shooting incidents this year versus the same stretch last year.
Her comments came at a media availability – see 22:12 to 22:30. She states: “What’s important is not to lose sight of the bigger picture. We’re down this year in shootings, we’re down in homicides, we’re down in carjackings. But violence is a persistent problem that has existed in our city for decades.”
She wants you to think the city’s getting a handle on crime. That it’s down. That it’s within normal range. Yet, neither recent nor pre-Covid city-data support her inferences.
New Chicago crime statistics show that overall major crimes this year, through Week 11 ending March 13, are up 34 percent over the same time last year. There have been 9,708 criminal complaints lodged so far this year versus 7,257 last year.
That’s almost 2,500 additional crimes in just 71 days.
Major crime categories are spiraling out of control. Compared to last year, thefts are up 63 percent. Motor vehicle thefts are up 44 percent. Burglaries are up 32 percent. Aggravated battery, robbery, and criminal sexual assault are also all up over last year, albeit at lower levels.
It’s bad out there. Why try to finesse it? It destroys trust and credibility.
Here’s the reality. The four percent drop in murders this year – 104 vs. 108 – only looks marginally better when compared to 2021, when Chicago hit a 25-year high.
But compared to pre-Covid 2019, murders are up to 86 percent year to date.
Shooting incidents in 2022 through Week 11 are 57 percent greater vs. 2019.
When Lightfoot plays games with crime data, here’s what she wants you to forget:
Chicago crime exploded in the wake of late-May 2020 rioting and looting. On May 31 of that year, 18 people were murdered in Chicago. In. One. Day. In one month, July, 107 were slain. Murders in 2020 rose 55 percent from 2019.
Since mid-2020 Lightfoot has been lost at sea on combating Chicago crime.