By: Joe Warta
It seems that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is ramping up her commitment to stamping out violent crime in the city.
A few weeks ago, Mayor Lightfoot released her 2022 budget, and the city council approved it shortly thereafter. In the budget is $411.6 million for a community safety program entitled, “Our City, Our Safety.” The breakdown of this program includes:
● $85 million on violence intervention, including victim services, street outreach and other violence reduction programs.
● $62 million for affordable housing and homeless programs.
● $80 million for assistance to families and youth jobs.
● $40 million for health and wellness programs.
● $114.6 million for community development and parks.
● $30 million for small business.
Regarding the issues of public safety and the city’s attitude toward it, the city’s budget director, Susie Park, had this to say: “The broad consensus was the urgency of public safety and the investments that our communities need to be safe, which includes addressing the root causes of violence through programs, services, resources, jobs, and infrastructure — all of which are addressed in the 2022 Budget.”
The budget is aiming towards Lightfoot’s overall goal of reducing violent crime in Chicago. Chicago is one of the most violent cities in the United States, which Lightfoot largely attributes to firearms – even blaming Mississippi for the problems, despite Chicago having some of the strictest gun control in the country.
The approach she is taking with the $400 million seeks to be a more holistic approach to tackling violent crime, instead of simply seeking to ban more guns, however, this is certainly not her abandoning her stance regarding gun control. Earlier this week, Lightfoot requested federal law enforcement assist Chicago in cracking down on illegal guns in the city. She requested that US Attorney General Merrick Garland send agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for six months to stem the tide of gun violence in the city.
This request for more law enforcement comes at an interesting time as well, when last year, Lightfoot heeded calls of those who demanding she defunding the police, by attempting to slash $80 million from the Chicago Police Department’s budget in 2020. And in 2020, she also threatened to sue former President Donald Trump if he sent federal law enforcement into the city to help with the violent crime problems. So it seems that her stance on law enforcement in the city may have changed over the past year.
Overall, while the $400 million for violent crime reduction seems like it may be taking a step away from simply blaming guns and actually trying to get to the root cause of violent crime, Gunpowder Magazine will continue to monitor the situation and report on how this money actually ends up being spent.
And, of course, if Lightfoot really wanted to reduce crime, she would make it easier for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves by removing hurdles to accessing firearms. As GPM readers know, more crimes equal less crime.
Joe Warta is a tax accountant and freelance writer in Raleigh, North Carolina. His current go-to gun is a Sig Sauer P320.