Mayoral candidates outline plans to fight crime

February 20, 2011 12:54:07 PM PST
All six candidates in the race for mayor talk about expanding community policing and ending the practice of shifting officers from low crime areas to high ones.

While adding more officers is a popular idea among most of the mayoral candidates, the first order of business is hiring a new police superintendant.

Choosing a new top cop, adding more street officers and deployment are all on candidates' agendas to reduce crime.

If elected, five of the mayoral candidates will send Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis packing.

Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins is the only one who will not commit to getting rid of Weis.

Endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Gery Chico has been vague about how to pay for more officers, except to say he would eliminate layers of management.

"I want to hire 2,000 police officers because I think that is where our strength level is," Chico said.

Rahm Emanuel would also cut jobs at the central office. He is also hoping to add 1,000 new officers by using tax increment financing funds known as TIFs in high crime areas.

However, not all believe that putting more police on the street is the answer.

"You just don't want to have occupied forces in poor communities and expect that is going to do anything for you," said Carol Moseley Braun.

Moseley Braun says prevention and a better relationship with police and the communities they serve will bring crime down.

For Miguel del Valle, the key is reinventing the caps program and focusing on the neighborhoods.

"You make them safer by organizing the neighborhoods and empowering people to take action to protect their neighborhoods working in conjunction with police," said Del Valle.

All candidates support returning to old fashioned policing.

"I believe the beat officer is the back bone of the police department not the central bureaucracy," said Emanuel.

UIC criminology professor Dennis Rosenbaum says all four major candidates have good plans, but they ignore an on-going crime issue.

"I feel there was not enough attention to reentry we have an enormous problem with thousands of people coming out of prison trying to reintegrate with these communities," said Rosenbaum.

Watkins does address the issue of reentry in her public safety plan.

Candidate William "Dock" Walls says a state of emergency should be declared to reduce crime. He says he would suspend all vacation and furlough days for officers. Walls' crime plan also states that cops should not be using their time writing parking tickets.