Chicago Crime Due to the Lax Court System

Chicago civilians and officials are worried about the number of crimes in Chicago that have continued to skyrocket. This is rightfully so, since the increase of crime is living up to the expectations of the media and political mindsets that have labeled Chicago as a crime capital.

Chicago isn’t really a crime haven, or at least it isn’t supposed to be. Chicago used to be considered as a thriving tourist destination. But, due to the high crime rates of murders, carjackings, and shootings in the city, the future numbers for Chicago tourism may fall. Every day on the news, Chicagoans hear about another carjacking, or a shooting that took place on the west side, or a murder on the south side. There may be suspects in these crimes, but many are not in custody, yet. City dwellers are anxious and they worry that not only will crime occur, but what will happen to them and their community if it does?

The real question is who is to blame the city becoming so violent? Should we blame Mayor Lori Lightfoot for failing to do what she promised Chicagoans such as reforming policing and reducing violence, or should we blame the Chicago Police Department for not doing their job of policing effectively?

Every day, it seems like there’s a new crime that has grabbed the city’s attention. The details are so recent that even the news does not have that much detail. For example, not much was known about the Smash-and-Grab that occurred at Hermosa in the earlier hours of November 16. Even last weekend, on the south side, there was a shooter who killed several people and wounded others as they passed by.

“For the second time this school year we’ve had shots fired right by the school with kids around,” said Chris Villa, a teacher at Ella Flagg Young in the Austin neighborhood. The shooter was active and had several hostages. Due to the activity, these kids couldn’t even go out for recess, because there is a safety issue. When asked if the shooter got arrested, Villa stated “No, they did not. The shooter let the hostages go and he was let go because there wasn’t enough evidence.”

When there’s a safety issue, you’re supposed to solve it. Our city officials seem to be treating this like a group project, where everyone is lazy and one person has to do all the work, but no one is stepping up to that position, so, all that anyone is doing is running in circles and pointing fingers and blaming other people.

It’s the job of the courts and police to make sure our city is safe. But what more can they do? Because of the fatal foot chase of Adam Tolendo and Anthony Alvarez within two days of each other, the mayor commanded new policies be put in place so we don’t keep failing “young people.”

She is completely focusing on the police so much, they cannot do their jobs. Their foot chases can’t occur whether it is on foot or vehicle due to safety issues of all involved as well as innocent bystanders. The police have to submit reports if they pull out a firearm whether they used it or not.

Also, what about the courts? The courts are that second layer of protection that are supposed to put these criminals behind bars for the correct reason.

“Our courts aren’t helping us, certainly our state attorney is terrible. She’s really nothing more than a public defender,” said Alderman Nicholas Sposato, alderman of the 38th ward on the far northwest side of Chicago, when he was asked why he thought there was so much crime in Chicago right now.

“In no way am I putting the blame on Lori Lightfoot, she’s doing the best she can with what she has, but she needs to stop focusing on the police as much. The police aren’t the issue when they can’t do anything about what’s happening in our city. Lightfoot should focus more on the courts and revising them.”

The CPD’s mission statement states that they are committed to protecting all the people, but how can they fulfill this mission statement when the mayor keeps reforming them and reforming them to nothing?

“There is zero consequences. I mean, most of the time they [people who committed the crime] get dismissed from court,” Ald. Sposato said.

Lightfoot spoke about the police chases that ended in a shooting. We can’t afford to fail more young people, or that the reason our city is like this is because police are putting us in danger; who can we look to? The police can’t chase anyone no matter the circumstances. If they end up catching a person who committed a crime, then the courts release them because of “not enough evidence.”

In a dismissed case, a case decides that no one is found guilty, which happens for several reasons. Although there may have been a reason for an arrest,  often the judge can’t convict someone  because of a gut feeling, or even lost evidence. You can’t dismiss a case and say there’s not enough evidence when the evidence is right in front of you.

Chicago needs to work hard to solve the rampant crime problem and make our city as safe as it was before. All parties need to work together, and the first step is reforming the Chicago court system.