The City of Chicago is enjoying a sharp decrease in crime as COVID-19 ravages the country. According to press releases and crime statistics from the Chicago Police Department, crime dropped nearly 17% in relation to the previous week. This data includes robberies, burglaries, shootings, and aggravated batteries from March 16 through March 22. From January 1 through March 22, Chicago saw its shooting rate jump nearly 27% and recorded nearly 90 homicides.
What it Means:
The 'City of Big Shoulders' is truly a city of crime. It has been ingrained in the city's DNA for well over a century. Al Capone's ruthless rule of Chicago's underworld during the 1920s became famous for its brutality, with this one gangster alone responsible for murder of nearly 500-700 people. During this time, the Thompson Submachine Gun, a weapon meant for trench clearing during the First World War, gained the nickname 'Chicago Typewriter' for its distinct echo that rippled between the city's buildings as mafiosos engaged in bloody urban gunfights.
The decrease in crime during the COVID-19 pandemic, humorous in a dark, twisted way, is also extremely saddening. When it takes a deadly virus to stop blood from flowing in the streets, the city and state government should turn to the mirror for serious self-introspection. The strategies and tactics utilized by the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police have failed miserably to prevent ever-growing crime rates. Just as the Illinois Department of Public Health is seeking to develop new strategies to stem the tide of COVID-19, so to should law enforcement in combating the gang warfare epidemic.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.