New Chicago Mayor Grapples With City’s Crime

New Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot inherits a city with persistent violence and shootings. Through May 19, Chicago recorded 162 slayings, 23 fewer than the year-earlier period. A big part of her first week in office involved preparing for Memorial Day weekend, which historically has marked the start of a spike in street violence that lasts throughout the summer. Lightfoot’s goal is to stop that trend from continuing, the Chicago Tribune reports. On the campaign trail, Lightfoot said Chicago leaders need to rethink how they deal with crime. Key pieces of that effort include a more robust Office of Violence Prevention in the mayor’s office and increased investment in neighborhoods. Lightfoot said the new office in part would help inmates returning from prison and support crime victims and witnesses.

Lightfoot is pushing police to use gathered intelligence more aggressively for solving crimes, and said she’s dissatisfied with the detectives division because its rate for solving homicides in recent years needs to improve. Lightfoot doesn’t want to micromanage Chicago cops, but said it would be foolish for her not to draw on her experience as a federal prosecutor and police accountability official in dealing with the department. “I’m not the police superintendent, but my job is to hold people accountable,” Lightfoot said. Zerlina Smith of the anti-violence group Institute for Nonviolence Chicago said she hopes Lightfoot’s idea to get police and outside agencies in the city working together isn’t just lip service. “In black communities, we’ve been promised so much for so long and that’s how people get elected, off the promises,” she said.

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