Greising: Does Mayor Lightfoot Have Fresh Solutions for Chicago’s Violence?

With surging crime rates to close out 2021, Lightfoot hopes to execute a plan to curb the violence by summer 2022; however, the mayor should take her proposal back to the drawing board.


BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

A rash of violence and lawlessness has gripped major cities across the country. By one tally, a dozen major U.S. cities by early December had broken their annual records for homicides.

Chicago will not set a record this year. The city’s highest-ever death toll — 970 homicides in 1974 — will likely remain intact. Even so, Chicago tops the nation in violent deaths so far in 2021. Homicides in the city have topped 780, according to city data, and are up nearly 60% from 2019, the year before the current national wave of urban violence began.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot took the data — and the loss of life — into account when she stepped before a microphone at Garfield Park on Monday to lay out her latest plan to stem the tide. She broke the challenge down into categories: the plague of guns, the release of people accused of violent crime under electronic monitoring by the Cook County courts, the lure and power of street gangs, and the curse of poverty that creates conditions for crime.

If it all sounds familiar, that’s because Lightfoot has tallied these troubles before. Unfortunately, the responses she proposed bore an air of familiarity.