Posted on January 2, 2024

Chicago’s Progressive Mayor Brandon Johnson Claims Reparations Will Help Tackle ‘The Cycle of Violence’

Nic White, Daily Mail, December 28, 2023

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson believes reparations for descendants of slaves will help improve his city’s rising crime rate.

Murders are down 13 per cent this year and 20 per cent in three years, but all crime is up 17 per cent – particularly car theft and robbery.

Johnson’s 2024 budget includes $100 million for violence prevention, but also $500,000 to form a Commission on Restoration and Reparations.

The commission will study the issue and provide recommendations on whether and how to compensate Chicago’s descendants of slaves.

‘These are the first dollars spent in this city to begin the process of studying both restoration and reparations,’ Johnson said last month.

‘When residents who have experienced neglect and disinvestment for generations speak out of their pain and their trauma, this administration and the Black Caucus, we hear you.’

Johnson on Wednesday claimed reparations would also help reduce violent crime, though he was yet to directly explain how.

‘I’ve added a half a million dollars for restoration and reparations to address, again, the cycle of violence,’ he said on CNN.

The mayor in the same breath segued into other parts of his budget, linking the ‘cycles of violence’ to ‘school closings, the closing of mental health facilities, which I’ve invested in now’.

Johnson argued tackling crime required investment to address its root causes, and that was the main aim of the public safety portion of his budget.

‘My full-out community safety plan not only gets at the root causes of violence in the city of Chicago, but we’re making critical investments,’ he said.

‘Those investments look like what I’ve presented in my last budget, a quarter of a billion dollars to address homelessness, $100 million for violence prevention.’

Johnson also discussed his plan to increase youth employment so they would be less likely to turn to a life of crime.

‘We added $80 million more to our youth employment program, of which we hired 25,000 young people just this summer, that’s a 20 per cent increase from the previous year,’ he said.

‘I’m going to hire 4,000 additional young people this summer.’

The mayor also wanted to ‘welcome’ former prisoners back into society once their sentence was over, so they wouldn’t commit more crimes.

‘We have stood up an entire office dedicated to re-entry, so individuals who are returning to our communities who have been incarcerated, because of failed policies, we’ll have a welcoming space for them,’ he said.

Johnson was asked about the latest crime statistics in Chicago that showed a 17 per cent uptick in crime this year.

Crime exploded across Chicago last year under his predecessor Lori Lightfoot, rising from 46,572 total complaints to 65,421 – though this was almost entirely driven by massive increases in car theft, burglary, and robbery.

This year did not reverse the city’s fortunes as crime was up 64 per cent from two years ago, 68 per cent from three years ago, and 55 per cent from four years ago.

Murders and shootings are on a three-year slide, both falling 13 per cent this year and 20 per cent from 2020, with shootings down 25 per cent in that time.

However, both are up compared to before the Covid pandemic – murders up 24 per cent on 2019 and shootings up 15 per cent.

Robbery is up 23 per cent on last year and 39 per cent from 2019, while theft was stable this year but up 41 per cent since 2019 and 94 per cent since 2020.

By far the biggest jump in crime was thefts related to vehicles, which jumped 38 per cent this year and a staggering 227 per cent on 2019.

Johnson noted murders and shootings were down and pointed out rising crime was something all large American cities were dealing with.

‘And as you’ve indicated, homicides are down, shootings are down, but, yes, what we’ve experienced in the city of Chicago, cities all over the country are experiencing,’ he said.