Gang members in Chicago now out number law enforcement officers by around 10 to 1, as officers are set to retire in record breaking numbers this year.
According to the latest estimate figures from the Police Pensions Board, 363 officers left the Chicago Police Department between the months of January and June, a further 56 are expected to call it quits and retire in July. These numbers surpass all the retirements of 2018 and are on track to surpass those of 2019 and 2020, with City Alderman Ray Lopez telling the Chicago Sun Times that “We are on track, I believe to have one of the highest retirement numbers in the city’s history.”
The Chicago Police Department currently has around 13,000 sworn officers meaning they are greatly outnumbered compared to the estimated 117,000 gang associates belonging to the city’s 55 known gangs, and with the number of retirements only increasing the disparity is set to get worse. The Chicago Police Departments official position on the matter is that the department “continues to monitor and maintain appropriate resources citywide” whilst attempting to bolster recruitment numbers.
Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera was one of the first to tweet about the incredibly disproportionate ratio of police officers to gang members, tweeting “ 11 more murdered in #Chicago. #MayorLoriLightfoot says there are 117,000 gang members vs. 12-13,000 cops, gangsters outnumber cops 10 to 1”.
Alderman Lopez lays the blame at the feet of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who according to Lopez has demoralised police and scared off new recruits with her anti-police rhetoric; “Many of our officers are not choosing to leave law enforcement as a profession but are retiring early to go to other departments because they don’t feel appreciated and respected in their home city of Chicago.”
The President of the Chicago Police Union, John Catanzara echoed Lopez’s sentiments when he reported how officers are working 12 hour shifts and having days off cancelled due to the manpower shortage, describing how officers are “literally treated like a rented mule and ridden until you can’t go anymore.”
Rivera argued that the increase in gang activity is directly linked to Lightfoot’s policing policies, telling Fox News Digital “All you can do with this defund the police nonsense is ignore the fact that you are essentially assigning a third-world existence to a huge segment of the population all in the name of anti-racism.”
On Monday President Biden held a meeting with urban leaders at the White House to help lay the foundations for a strategy to tackle the spike in crime across the country. Whilst Biden is somewhat limited at a federal level, he did promise to support efforts on the ground to combat crime; “We know when we utilise trusted community members and encourage more community policing, we can intervene before the violence erupts.”
This is the second such meeting to take place in the last three weeks as city mayors and democratic lawmakers turn their attention to rising crime levels ahead of the mid-term elections, were polls have suggested that crime and policing are likely to be important topics in the minds of many voters.
ARTICLE: NATHAN REID
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES