I have long believed that District 11, with its large number of diverse neighborhoods, is one of the best places to live in all of Chicago. That is why I have made this district my home for over 20 years. And while I still know this to be true, we do need to acknowledge that these past few months have seen an increase in crime in our district. Some of our neighborhoods may be getting a few extra officers to help deter crime, but most of us will not. So what can we do to curb this growing problem?
First, there are a number of practical steps we all can take right away. To begin, unfortunate as it may be, it is now a fact of life that we must all lock our doors, windows and garages. We must all be diligent in noticing and reporting any suspicious and/or illegal activity within our neighborhoods. We can all consider organizing and participating in a block group where neighbors can meet with one another to share community information. Some of these groups have a community dog walk in the evening or just sit out on their porches in the evening. Anything to let the bad guys know that they are not welcomed here. Even something as simple as putting a Neighborhood Watch sign (available from the CPD or online) would help.
Second, we can deter crime by increasing the visibility of our existing police force through outdoor roll calls and similar actions to caution would-be criminals that there is still a strong law enforcement presence in our district. Third – and this is admittedly a longer-term solution -- I strongly believe that improving our schools and the overall economic climate in our city and state will naturally reduce our crime rate.
Of course, District 11 neighborhoods proudly boast some of the best performing schools in the city. Still, since we have been told that in most cases the perpetrators of crime in District 11 have not been residents of our district, we will continue to see crime in our neighborhoods until all Chicago schools perform well.
When every student in Chicago can get a first-class education, we should see reductions in the levels of truancy and school dropouts that lead to the kind of crime impacting our district and districts across the city today. When every student in Chicago gets the quality education he or she deserves, we will have a population of high school graduates that is better prepared to enter the workforce. With the implementation of programs that I support to improve the business climate in the city and state, these graduating students who choose to go work after high school instead of college should find a more favorable employment climate.
Having more working high school graduates, instead of gang-affiliated dropouts, will go a long way towards reducing the crime we now see across our district and city. And with these new taxpayers paying into the system, we should also have more funding for police and fire services.
“I believe that we, regardless of party, can do that which I have helped my clients do for themselves: become financially stable. I invite you to read on to see some of the solutions that I am proposing to make this a reality, and to solve Illinois’s financial crisis for all of us.”
PAID FOR BY COMMITTEE TO ELECT GARY MANDELL. A COPY OF OUR REPORT FILED WITH THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IS (OR WILL BE) AVAILABLE ON THE BOARD’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE http://www.elections.il.gov OR FOR PURCHASE FROM THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS.