Chicago, along with numerous other cities across the nation, has experienced a cop shortage. This shortage has nothing to do with a lack of applicants, but a lack of money. Currently, the force operates on a daily roster that is an astonishing 2,300 short of authorized strength.
Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis announced this week, however, that he would be making the most of the force he has and reallocating officers from lower crime neighborhoods into the communities that need them the most. As residents no doubt recall, this promise has been made and broken by Weis’ four predecessors as well, raising suspicions of whether he will be able to follow through where others haven’t.
Weis admits he’s discussed the reallocation for the past two years but assures the community that this will be the year that it actually happens. With only 4 months left, he needs to make haste.
Weis stopped short of stating there would be a “beat realignment”, requiring the redrawing of police districts. But instead stated that police will be staffing areas where they are most needed, possibly leading to a drop in other neighborhoods who haven’t demonstrated the same crucial crime deterrence need.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, some communities are up in arms, worried they will be the ones losing officers. Wealthier neighborhoods are already shouting about how their communities also need attention, one citing a 400% increase in homicides. But, this number could be misleading.
If your community had one homicide in 2008 and 4 in 2009, that’s a 400% increase and certainly not a minor issue. However, when you are comparing that to communities that experience dozens of homicides each year, there’s really no comparison. Not to mention homicides in upper income areas are usually perpetrated by family members increasing the likelihood that all 4 incidences for that single year, for example, were done at the same time in the same home.
In a higher crime area, those homicides are more likely to be random or related to gang violence and the drug trade—situations which may be stifled slightly by an increase in police presence.
Working with a police force that is seriously lacking in number is no doubt frustrating. It remains to be seen how the reallocation will actually play out and if the alderman in wealthier neighborhoods will be able to influence the city in keeping cops more highly concentrated where they are needed the least.
Police presence is important for several reasons, the most of which is crime deterrence. When there are patrol cars consistently patrolling the area, crime will fall. When cops take the added steps of being active within the neighborhoods, referred to as “community policing”, the citizens feel more comfortable coming to the police for help and assisting the police when needed. It’s a win-win situation and an improvement much needed in high-crime and low income neighborhoods.
No matter what neighborhood you’re from or which districts you frequent, if you break the law and get caught you have every right to be nervous about your court date and what a conviction might mean for your future. If you’re facing criminal charges, contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.