Despite rising crime, Chicago mayor says public safety efforts are 'paying dividends'

(The Center Square) – According to crime statistics, overall crime in Chicago has risen 38% since Mayor Brandon Johnson assumed office on May 15. Despite this, Johnson claims his plan to reduce crime is working.

As mayor, Johnson has faced multiple violent weekends, including a Memorial Day weekend in which 11 were killed, and more than 30 others were shot. 

According to Chicago Police Department CompStat numbers, aggravated batteries are up 17%, burglaries are up 12% and car thefts are up 153% in the last month compared to the same time frame last year. 

The mayor was on the “Why Is This Happening” podcast with Chris Hayes and said his efforts have already begun to make an impact. 

“We are putting hundreds of millions of dollars now into violence prevention and intervention and disruption,” Johnson said. “We are already seeing the dividends of that.” 

Johnson also another major factor in stopping crime is prosecuting those who are committing these acts and no longer letting people walk free. 

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who is not seeking a third term, has been criticized for how her office handles criminal cases. 

Johnson said fixing this issue can work as a crime deterrent. 

“We need to be making sure that we are solving violent crimes,” Johnson said. “That will work as a deterrence, so that is important.” 

Johnson wants to create programs that will get younger people into jobs and more funding for specific neighborhoods. He also said there needs to be a better characterization of Chicago’s young people. 

“There has been a lot of mischaracterization of our young people in the city of Chicago,” Johnson said. “Do we have individuals who have lived out their pain in the most violent ways, of course, but the vast majority of our young people need and want opportunity.” 

Youth homicides since Johnson has been in office have doubled since this time last year, according to a Wirepoints analysis. Chicago has seen nine teens under the age of 19 die from violence in the past month compared to four during the same time frame last year.