(The Center Square) – Chicago is looking at its highest crime rates since before the COVID-19 pandemic, leading some to question the criminal justice system’s overall effectiveness.
While Chicago has seen murders drop by 10 percent in 2023, other major crimes have significantly increased. Car thefts are up 52% and robberies are up 25%.
On Tuesday, Mayor Brandon Johnson welcomed more academy graduates onto the Chicago Police force.
“Thank you all for answering the call to serve,” Johnson said. “This is a great day for you and the city of Chicago. Our entire city is strengthened by every single one of you who has dedicated your life to this career.”
Chicago saw nearly 80,000 major crimes in 2023, which, according to Wirepoints, is 29,000 more crimes than in 2019.
Ted Dabrowski of Wirepoints told The Center Square that crime is increasing due to a lack of support for the men and women in uniform.
“I think the issue continues to be police morale and police support,” Dabrowski said. “I still believe they are not confident that their backs are being taken care of, and I mean that because prosecutors continue to focus more on letting criminals go.”
According to the report, 2013 marked a near-record amount of inmates in Cook County jails, but since then, the number of inmates has collapsed by more than 50%.
“Until you get the police to be able to do policing freely and confidently and with confidence, I think we are going to have a big problem,” Dabrowski said. “Especially with the continued lack of support they’ve seen from Chicago leaders and others.”
Last month, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 president John Catanzara said numbers may show crime is down in some areas, but perception is everything.
“We are taking suggestions and recommendations on what should be done because it is getting worse, not better,” Catanzara said. “Violent crime may be down, but the feeling of being less safe in this city is prevalent.”
Chicago police stations have also been tasked with supporting over 20,000 non-citizen arrivals over the last year and a half.