'Invest in people': Mayoral hopefuls outline plan to reduce Chicago crime

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson Photo credit Nancy Harty

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Gwen Hendrick said Chicago’s policing strategies did little to prevent him from getting robbed and beaten up on the CTA Red Line a few months ago.

“We’ve tripled our per capita police spending within the last 60 years, and what do we have to show for it?” Hendrick said. “All of that money didn’t stop me from getting attacked.”

Hendrick said he’s supporting Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnsonfor mayor.

“The best way to reduce violence in the city of Chicago is to invest in people,” Johnson said. “There is a direct correlation between investing in young people and violence reduction.”

The commissioner claimed he could save $20 million by upgrading the police department's technology for filing paperwork and said he wants to redirect resources to promoting 200 more detectives.

Johnson said he’d also like to double the number of summer jobs for young people and reopen mental health clinics as part of a treatment not trauma approach.

Other candidates have also proposed more spending in overlooked neighborhoods as a way to deter crime. Paul Vallas said he wants a third of new casino, sports betting and TIF funds invested in the South and West Sides.

Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia said he would link investments in workforce development and affordable housing to a larger vision for public safety. Specifically, Garcia proposed property tax relief for lower-income homeowners in the form of grants starting at $250, as well as for small businesses that saw their taxes increase by at least $3,000.

Adolfo Davis, who was released from prison after 29 years for murder as a juvenile, said he supports Johnson.

“I would’ve come right back to prison because I didn’t have the resources to get back on my feet and put my life in a better direction,” Davis said.

Johnson also said he would eliminate what he described as the police department's "racist" gang database, as well as the City’s contract for ShotSpotter, which the inspector general said is flawed.

“This is the exciting moment that we’re in, where there’s going to be more democracy in the city of Chicago,” he said. “My career working as an organizer and collaborating and bringing people together … will be essential as we work to have a safer Chicago.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Nancy Harty