Even while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy insist crime is declining in the Windy City, the incidence of violence hit very close to home near the acerbic politician’s home on the north end of the city on the evening of December 19.
According to the Chicago Tribune:
Zach Emanuel was talking on his cell phone on the street in the 4200 block of North Hermitage Avenue in the Ravenswood neighborhood when two unknown males approached him from behind, according to the police report.
One of them “placed his arm around the victim’s neck in a rear chokehold,” and the second one struck the teen with a fist, knocking him to the ground. The robbers took the teen’s cell phone and patted him down, the police report said.
“The offenders then asked the victim ‘What else you got?’ (and) forced the victim to enter his security code to unlock the phone,” the police report said. The robbers then ran away. The teen was treated for cuts and bruises on his face by a personal physician at his home, according to the report.
According to the Chicago Police Crime Data Portal, incidents involving firearms rose by 10 percent over 2013, while aggravated batteries and criminal sexual assaults rose by 2%. Likewise, HeyJackasss.com says that 435 homicides have occurred in Chicago so far in 2014.
In questioning before state legislators in October, Mayor Emanuel appeared flippant when asked whether violence is increasing in Chicago.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Emanuel was questioned by the city council about resources devoted to policing:
[State Representative] Dunkin ripped Emanuel for failing to honor his campaign promise to hire 1,000 additional Chicago police officers and for using $103 million in police overtime in 2013 as a substitute for new hiring.
Noting that there are four or five police officers on every corner along Michigan Avenue, Dunkin asked, “Why can’t we do that in black and brown” neighborhoods?
Dunkin questioned Emanuel about the truthfulness of statistics cited by the city to demonstrate a drop in crime.
With Police Supt Garry McCarthy seated next to the mayor, Dunkin questioned the veracity of crime statistics that both the mayor and McCarthy have used to tout a 40-year low in homicides and a drop in other crimes.
“If you hired more officers, as you committed to when you first came to the city, you would see a different relationship in some of these communities as compared to if you burned out the same ones. I don’t think that’s responsible,” he said.
Dunkin, who leads the Illinois Black Caucus, asked:
“With the level of carnage and murder and mayhem in black and brown communities — if that level of activity was occurring in Ravenswood where you live . . . how would you rate him doing his job? You know how I feel.”
Emanuel defended McCarthy and said he is doing a “great job,” Both Emanuel and McCarthy continue to insist that there has been a significant drop in crime in what the mayor calls a “world-class city.” this year.
Fellow Democrat, Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia is seeking to replace Emanuel as mayor. A protege of Harold Washington, the first African-American mayor of Chicago, Garcia has promised to hire an additional 1,000 police officers to fight crime and address the wave of violence. Garcia has garnered support from the principal teacher's union and Cook County Clerk David Orr.