* From an Illinois State Rifle Association press release…
For the second year in a row, the ISRA is advising subscribers to its alert service to write Chicago out of their summer vacation plans because the city is just too darn dangerous to visit. This safety advisory comes as Chicago experiences an unprecedented upswing in violent crime.
Although city officials and the Chicago media would like people to believe that the surge in violence is limited to Chicago’s gang-infested neighborhoods, ISRA members who are also Chicago police officers report that criminals of all sorts have notched up their efforts in every corner of the city. These members report that crimes ranging from pickpocketing to aggravated assault are becoming very commonplace in areas once considered safe for families and tourists. As one officer put it, “Don’t come to Chicago this summer unless you want to get beaten and robbed.”
“Putting the bad economy aside, there’s a couple of major reasons for Chicago’s rising tide of violent crime,” commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson. “First off, criminals are fully aware that Illinois’ prohibition on concealed carry gives them the upper hand. Second, Mayor Emanuel and Police Superintendent McCarthy are in a hopeless state of paralysis over what to do about violent crime. This is a recipe for disaster. Criminals know you can’t legally protect yourself, and they know that Chicago law-enforcement officials haven’t a clue about what to do to protect good citizens from harm. Criminals are taking advantage of a bad situation – and doing a good job at it.”
“In clear conscience I cannot recommend that anyone vacation in Chicago this summer,” continued Pearson. “Tourists are like sitting ducks and mobs of violent criminals have shown that they are brazen enough to attack anywhere, any time – even along the Magnificent Mile. I suggest that folks consider Wisconsin as a vacation destination this year. Fresh air, sunshine, friendly people – all waiting just a short drive across the border. And, although Illinois residents cannot take advantage of Wisconsin’s newly-attained concealed carry status, the general air of civility fostered by concealed carry is certainly another reason to vacation with our neighbors to the north!”
* There were 259 Chicago homicides in the first six months of this year…
The Tribune reported Monday that 143 of the homicide victims in the first half of the year were listed as being at least affiliated with a street gang. The data obtained by the paper represent the Police Department’s preliminary assessment of crimes and are subject to revision as investigations progress.
A deeper review of the numbers shows males ages 15 to 35 made up nearly three-quarters of African-American homicide victims. Police data showed that 133 of those 145 victims had arrest histories.
Of the 44 Hispanic victims, 27 were males ages 15 to 35 and had arrest histories, according to the data. Three of the 11 white victims were males in that age range with arrest histories.
Legalized concealed carry probably wouldn’t have done much to stop most of those homicides, since so many gang members and affiliates (who are more likely to have criminal records, and therefore would be ineligible to legally carry) have been victims.
A six-month old plan to target gangs and drug markets in Chicago’s two most violent police districts will be shifted to other high-crime districts after a dramatic drop in homicides in the targeted areas, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday.
Former Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis told the Chicago Sun-Times this week that it might be time to “call an audible” to stop a citywide 39 percent spike in homicides.
Emanuel’s plan is more like a spread offense.
After pointing to a 43 percent drop in homicides in the Englewood District and a 24 percent reduction in the Harrison District, the mayor said he wants to duplicate that “special, new, concentrated program” in other high-crime districts.
“Those two districts last year represented 25 percent of our violent crime. Today, unlike some other areas, they’re showing … a dramatic reduction in the homicide rate,” the mayor said.
* More from the PR counter-offensive…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office swung into full damage-control mode Wednesday after Chicago’s convention and tourism chief was quoted as saying that a 38 percent spike in the city’s homicide rate and a troubling return to mob attacks downtown was hurting efforts to promote the city.
Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board that he’s gotten five or six calls from meeting planners in recent weeks concerned about whether Chicago is still a safe place to hold their meetings.
So far, nobody’s cancelling any meetings just yet. But, that’s a possibility if the Chicago Police Department does not get a quick handle on the problem, Welsh was quoted as saying.
“We hope this sunsets quickly because all the good work we’re doing regionally, nationally and internationally, if this is not contained in a reasonable period of time, it will have an impact,” the Tribune’s website quoted Welsh as saying.
“There are inquiries that are coming in from meeting planners that are saying, ‘Hey, I’m reading about what’s taken place in your city. Is your city safe?’”
In a follow-up interview with the Chicago Sun-Times a short time later Wednesday, Welsh insisted that his remarks had been “misinterpreted” and “taken out of context.”