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President Obama’s hometown of Chicago has a problem: a declining clearance rate for violent crime has lead to an increase in crimes such as robbery and murder, which is further fed by declining morale in an underfunded, undermanned police department. The situation is so bad, even the cops themselves are being gunned down in the streets:
And it gets worse. Three Chicago police officers have been murdered in the last two months, the most recent of whom was Michael Bailey, who at age 62 was only weeks away from retirement. On the morning of July 18, Bailey had finished an overnight shift guarding the home of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and was in front of his own home cleaning his new car, which he had bought as an early retirement gift to himself. He was still dressed in his police uniform when someone tried to rob him. Police officers everywhere accept the risks to life and limb attendant to the job, but it’s generally taken for granted among cops that the uniform will serve as a deterrent against being robbed on the street. What level of depravity has a city reached when a uniformed police officer is no safer from a street robbery than anyone else? More important, what is to be done about it?
Other problems come to mind besides the lack of money and competent leadership that Dunphy talks about in his article: Chicago is a city with an absolute ban on handgun ownership, though that’s now been overturned in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald v. Chicago. Criminals know that their victims are likely to be unarmed and that itself makes violent crime a less risky proposition for the criminal. In effect, gun control increases crime. Perhaps if the City of Chicago would stop fighting its residents rights under the Constitution, violent crime rates would drop.
The other problem that comes to mind is the notorious corruption of Chicago, itself. It’s not surprising that the cities Dunphy mentions as having worse murder rates than Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit, both also have serious problems with corruption. Corruption not only steals the public’s money and cheats them of the services for which they’ve paid, but it also saps morale among those who serve the public and aren’t corrupt themselves, inevitably making problems such a city’s crime rate worse.
To turn back to Chicago, how bad must the decline of law and order be, when criminals don’t fear even the police? Bad enough that one of its own cops says the city is on the fast track to anarchy.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)