FBI – to fix a broken Chicago?
US Federal Bureau of Investigation – Chicago, IL
I keep seeing these headlines because of a tweet Donald Trump tweeted hinting at the idea that the Feds, particularly the FBI will, with the support of Donald Trump take on crime in Chicago.
I find it a bit odd that the media has made such a spectacle out of that tweet, immediately rushing in the door with stories and theories about what the Feds might be able to do.
Here are some simple facts and numbers for you:
Chicago has historically always been riddled with crime, the reason so many of us wrote about it last year is because our hope was to find out why, what the root cause of it all was and how we could all work together to solve and treat the reasons behind the violence.
Note the word treat, is meaning is very different from both fix and prevent.
I know it’s a mouth full and it was a long shot, the point was completely missed sadly.
So for 2016 to start you off here are the final numbers for shootings, not just deaths that occurred in Chicago according to heyjackass.com:
Total Shot – 4378
Total Homicides – 795
Of that total for Homicides – 713 were killed in a shooting related incident.
But Chicago has been this way since around the late 60’s with the most violent year in terms of murder occurring back in 1974, with whopping 970 murders recorded for that year. The population in Chicago for that year if you wanted to know, was somewhere around 3 million or so.
Of course broadcasting the news back then is not what it is in today’s world so you really didn’t see worldwide attention being placed on Chicago that year.
Chicago hit another record murder number in 1992, with 943 murders for that year and funny story, the population was under 3 million at that time.
Again, the internet was not as big as it is today so it wasn’t making headlines like it is today. These days it is a dinner table conversation.
After that, crime at least murder dropped steadily off with 641 murders for the year of 1999. By the time 2000 came around Chicago enjoyed a down-tick in overall crime until around 2010, when the numbers began to rise again.
For the year 2004, Chicago basked in the light and saw just 448 homicides which was the city’s lowest amount of homicides since the year 1965.
So we are looking at part of that uptick or we are looking at the end of it.
Donald Trump subtly suggested that perhaps it might be time for the Fed’s to step in and fix Chicago and I am not sure that will help, in the long run in fact, I am not sure how I really feel about that.
Maybe it will for the next 4 years but if you are looking for a long term fix, that might not be the entire answer here.
We can call for being tough on crime right? But let me ask you my readers, while it all sounds pretty, has that ever in any state really solved the crime issues or did criminals just continue to commit the same crimes and just find a way around the criminal justice system?
As an example let’s look at a really easy one, DUI’s.
Some states have gotten understandably tough on DUI offenders in the hope that it will deter other potential drunk drivers and or discourage individuals from making the same mistake twice.
The reality is only one side of the box got fixed while the other half just floated off in the wind.
Today, nationwide you see offenders who have been through the system driving without a license, continuing to drink, oh and drive without said license.
Some do the blow and go device in the car, they have others blow into it for them or they take a cab home from the bar until they don’t have to carry the device anymore, because some states give them the option, classes or blow and go.
So why stop drinking when biding one’s time seems like the better option right?
Right after they are done using the device they go right back to the drinking and driving thing instead of a cab because hey after a year or so, taking a cab really is costly.
Besides, after having spent a year or more taking a cab they paid attention to cops who were out patrolling on the nights they drink…they pretty much know when and where to avoid.
Full disclosure, I have never had a DUI but several of my friends have had them so I know the tricks they utilize based off of what I have personally seen them do.
Many offenders have managed to figure out ways around that pesky piss test if they have to have them, they go later in the day after downing tons of water and things like sports drinks.
And they have found ways to ace the court ordered DUI classes, because if the offender at any time was in the system for any reason they realized all of these drug/alcohol classes are pretty much the same no matter how many times you’ve been to them and if they are geared toward a second and third offence (many are not by the way), those are the same too.
That is just one small example of what our country is pretty good at, fixing one small part of a problem to make certain groups and individuals happy but we fail so clearly at really addressing the root cause of the problem and how to treat it.
So, the problem continues to be a problem because the reality is, while drunk driving deaths may have gone down, only a small part has gotten better due to tougher laws, the other reason is because criminals have found a way around the system.
If we are not careful, I see us making the same mistakes over again in Chicago.
Chicago in the past has brought crime rates down by taking recommendations from both the Los Angeles Police Department and the New York City Police Department, and implementing those recommendations.
At this juncture however, Chicago should also be looking at how to treat the real issues they face. You can only be so tough on crime and Chicago and her issues are different from New York and LA.
The societies between the three cities is a quite different.
Besides, the reality is that the Fed’s are a little limited in what they can do.
Passing more gun laws are not the fix because the Chicago police said pretty early on in 2016 the majority of the violence was due to feuding gangs.
Anyone know of many gang members purchasing guns legally and you can’t count that one known gang member who did manage to clear the background check and by a gun, in Chicago back in 2016…He’s already been counted.
The most extreme measure would be calling in the National Guard but we have one small little issue with that…A federal statute, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, that statute just so happens to prohibit federal troops from being deployed in civil law enforcement.
To be fair, trying to get around that law spells trouble for anyone who tries.
So in my mind fixing a broken Chicago takes more than asking for the FBI to step in and help, being tough on crime and adding more gun laws.
Funding youth job programs is great but those need to work in conjunction with police the youth will trust because some of those kids face trying to get out or get killed scenarios.
First, fixing a broken Chicago requires us to take a step back to study and understand Chicago through both the good times and the bad so we can begin to see where it starts to fall apart.
Our ability to see where it starts to fall apart is actually pretty critical because once you fully understand it, then you can change it.
Cristal M Clark