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‘The Only Thing Voters Care About’: Dem Challengers Hammer Lori Lightfoot Over Chicago Crime

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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The Chicago mayor’s race is heating up as candidates batter Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the city’s ongoing crime problems.

Chicago saw a 40% increase in crime from 2021 to 2022, including a 132% increase in motor vehicle thefts, a 56% increase in sexual assault reports, a 15% increase in robberies and a 52% increase in thefts, according to the city’s crime statistics. Democratic mayoral candidates in this deep blue city are now focusing heavily on crime and are hammering Lightfoot for her handling of crime and policing.

Lightfoot pledged to cut $80 million from the city’s police budget during protests in 2020. Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, a Democrat, pledged to dismiss Police Superintendent David Brown, hire more police officers and make the Mayor’s office more supportive of local police as part of the public safety plan he proposed as part of his campaign.

He blamed the city’s crime crisis on “the abandonment of a community based policing strategy,” according to Politico.

“It appears that the city has been surrendered to a criminal element that acts with seeming impunity in treating unsuspecting, innocent people as prey,” the plan says. “The data also suggests that their confidence that they will never be held accountable is correct. Fewer than one in six murders result in actual arrests, and fewer than one in twenty shootings in which the victim survives result in arrests.”

He also suggested Lightfoot had no plan for dealing with crime following a mayoral forum Jan. 31.

“Mayor Lightfoot was asked not once, but twice last night if she had any new ideas to make Chicago safer. Her answer was no,” he wrote. “We need a Mayor with a real plan to put crime and your safety first.”

Democratic Illinois Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García has also promised to fire Brown and hire more police officers if he wins the mayoral race, according to Politico. He criticized Lightfoot for taking too long to implement a federal consent decree to improve policing after the 2014 police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

“It shouldn’t have taken four years to get that done,” he said, adding that officers needed “to get out of their cars and knock on doors and rebuild trust. Trust is critical to getting the department back on track.”

About nine in 10 Chicago residents considered leaving the city for lower-crime areas in the past year, and about three quarters believe violence in Chicago is increasing, according to a January AARP poll.

“It’s the only thing voters care about … [crime] is the issue and nothing comes close,” Arne Duncan, former Obama-era Education secretary and Chicago native, told Politico.

Lightfoot did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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