Public safety is the key issue that ruined Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s chance for reelection.
To hear mayoral runoff contenders Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas tell how they would fix the city’s policing problem is to understand just how complex the answers can be. Yet in their focus on violent crime, the candidates so far are overlooking another public safety problem that could readily be fixed: the scourge of fatal fires in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
Vallas would seek to reduce violent crime by filling more than 1,000 vacant Chicago Police Department positions. He wants “proactive policing” that would put beat cops on street corners and increase arrests. He would dig into surplus funds from special taxing districts to increase police spending.
Johnson wants 200 more detectives in order to crack more cases. He would find cost cuts rather than spending more. He wants to channel CPD resources toward mental health and social services and use neighborhood investment to address the root causes of crime.
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