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Amid surging crime, Dem alderman calls on Lightfoot to fire Chicago police chief if no sign of progress; she faults pandemic

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A Chicago city alderman and frequent critic of Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said she should fire the current police chief and his leadership team if he can’t find ways to significantly reduce the rising crime rates throughout the city that range from brazen daytime theft from high-end retail outlets to carjackings and murders.

“I am not at all … happy with CPD and their leadership. They need to step up in a big way and stop this crime pandemic themselves. They need to step it up in a big way and stop this crime pandemic themselves,” Cardenas, a Democrat like Lightfoot, told the Chicago Sun-Times last week regarding Police Superintendent David Brown. “They need to find a way to recruit more people. That’s on them. The mayor can only do so much.”

“And I will urge the mayor — if that is not happening, she ought to change that leadership immediately.”

“If things don’t change and there’s not a different plan to deliver safety for Chicago — to deliver justice in the way people expect — then we need to bring in [someone else]. You’ve got to make the changes when things aren’t working out,” he continued.

His remarks come amid major surges in crime across Chicago.

On Friday night, as many as a dozen people raided a retail store in the Chatham neighborhood, grabbing as many items as they could and getting away clean, Fox News noted, citing local reports.

Meanwhile, other suspects stormed into a Nieman Marcus store in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile area as well as a GameStop on the South Side, cleaning out shelves and emptying racks, Fox32 reported.

Right after Brown took office, he told his supervisory staff one of his “moonshot” objectives was to keep murders in the city under 300 per year for the first time since 1957, but thus far he hasn’t come close. With more than a month left in the year, there have already been 715 murders in the city, which is 3 percent higher than last year and 59 percent more than 2019.

“Through Nov. 16, Chicago has seen 3,975 people shot, compared to 3,671 people in 2020, an increase of 8%, and compared to 2,352 shooting victims in 2019, an increase of 69%,” the Sun-Times reported, citing police department data.

Carjackings have spiked even more, rising 31 percent through last week; 1,807 people have been carjacked this year compared with 1,380 through the same period last year, while victims have nearly tripled from 615 in 2019.

Nevertheless, Lightfoot appeared to blow off Cardena’s complaints about her hand-picked CPD chief.

“The statements attributed to Alderman George Cardenas are ill-informed and lack an appreciation for the complexities of public safety in this time of COVID,” she noted in a late Thursday statement, appearing to blame the pandemic for crime spikes. “If the solutions were easy, we would have solved the challenge long ago, but they are not. The root causes of community violence are deep, complex, and generations in the making.

“We are focused on fighting gangs, taking dangerous guns off the street, and continuing to make investments that we know will solve these problems in the short term and long term,” the statement added.

“We have to continue to push our partners at all levels to hold themselves accountable, and anyone who wants to join me and Superintendent Brown is welcome to join that fight.”

Jon Dougherty

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