Crime continues to be main issue among Chicago mayoral candidates

(The Center Square) – Candidates in the 2023 Chicago mayoral election say incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot has not done enough to stop crime.

Earlier this week, Lightfoot broke ground on a $170 million project that will construct a taxpayer-funded public safety center on the city’s west side. The center will also provide the city’s first responders with the “most modern facilities to hone their skills for emergency response situations, investigations, and tactical operations.” 

Lightfoot said her goal is to make Chicago one of the safest cities in the nation. 

“All of us here in city government and beyond are working together every day to make sure that the city of Chicago is the safest big city in the nation,” Lightfoot said. 

Chicago Police statistics show that through Jan. 22, 2023, violent crime is 61% higher than the same span in 2022, and 97% greater than in 2021. 

Chicago businessman and candidate for mayor Willie Wilson was on Fox News with Tucker Carlson Thursday night and criticized Lightfoot. 

“There are too many restrictions on the police department. We need to take the handcuffs off the police officers and put them on the people who are doing it,” Wilson said. “This mayor we have now keeps coming up with excuses, but people keep dying on the street.” 

Lightfoot said she still has more work to do and downplayed the city’s crime rate. 

“We are not at our destination yet, and we know that,” Lightfoot said. “We are not going to rest until every single person in our city feels safe because they are safe.”

Wilson claims Lightfoot has failed her number one priority. 

“The mayor’s first duty is to protect its citizens,” Wilson said. “She is getting paid to do her job. If she cannot do her job, when you get to do a job, and you can not do it, you need to be fired.” 

Candidate Paul Vallas has also been critical of Lightfoot and said on Twitter that he is running to make the city safer. 

“If Mayor Lightfoot wants to talk about public safety, maybe we should look at the last four years when the murder rate is up 39% from when she took office,” Vallas said. “I’m running for Mayor to make Chicago safer right now.”  

Earlier this year, Chicago’s 4th Ward Alderman Sophia King, who will also be running against Lightfoot in February’s primary election, laid out her plan for stopping crime in the city. 

King’s plan includes hiring over 1,000 retired officers to work significant events, using drones to follow carjacking suspects, and offering $5,000 signing bonuses for law enforcement. 

Kam Buckner, a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, Frederick Collins, a law enforcement officer, and Ja’Mal Green, an activist, have announced their plans to fight crime. 

Buckner’s plan includes several changes to the hiring process by removing certain restrictions to police hiring like low credit scores as a way to fill vacancies within the department.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who endorsed several city council candidates this week, said Thursday he would not be backing any candidate in the Feb. 28 mayoral election. 

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