On June 11, 2019, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called a press conference to announce that she would take an “all hands on deck approach” to fighting violence in Chicago.
“This has to be an all-hands-on-deck approach to making sure that we’re strengthening our communities, but also addressing the issue of violence,” she said.
Later that summer, Lightfoot built on the all-hands theme: “We’re bringing everyone to the table to build on our ‘all-hands-on-deck effort’ to create real, widespread and lasting public safety by addressing these issues head-on in a coordinated and collective effort.”
Over the next year, Chicago’s shooting and murder tallies increased by more than 50%. This year is outpacing last. And July, the month that just ended, will go down as the third-worst month for murders in Chicago since the police department’s modern record-keeping system began in 1957.
So, of course, the mayor’s office on Thursday called a press conference to rally “all hands on deck” to fight the violence. Lightfoot’s new press secretary, Cesar Rodriguez, announced the latest “all hands on deck” approach on Twitter Thursday morning.
“The press conference starts in 15 minutes,” Rodriguez tweeted. “It will be an all-hands-on-deck approach to reducing violence.”
Then, he backed it up with a selfie video from outside the soon-to-happen press conference.
“Mayor Lori Lightfoot is making a big announcement,” Rodriguez told the camera. “It starts with all-hands-on-deck approach.”
In June, Lightfoot tweeted that her Director of Violence Reduction, Norman Livingston Kerr, “leads our all-hands-on-deck approach to public safety and violence prevention.”
“ALL hands on deck!” Kerr said on Twitter a few weeks later with photos of Lightfoot at a community rally.
Heading into the Fourth of July weekend, Lightfoot again vowed to have all hands on deck. But her deputy mayor for public safety and her chief of staff both took days off in the week before the holiday, the Chicago Tribune reported:
Leading up to the summer months when Chicago historically sees its highest levels of violence, Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed to take an “all hands on deck” approach to stopping the city’s shootings.
But even as the city canceled days off for Chicago cops and forced them to work 12 hour days, two of the mayor’s top aides took time off leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, where at least 108 people were shot, 17 fatally.
After looters ripped through the city on August 10, 2020, Lightfoot rolled out an “all-hands-on-deck safety plan.” She did that just six weeks after deciding to “double down on our all-hands-on-deck public safety efforts.”
In fact, we found over 100 references to the city putting “all hands on deck” to fight violence over the past 26 months on city websites and various city officials’ social media accounts. Some of those officials have since decided to abandon ship for other opportunities.
On Facebook last month, Lightfoot hatched a new safety strategy that “differs from past years in that it is truly an all-hands-on-deck effort.” So, apparently, the previous year wasn’t truly all-hands-on-deck.
There’s an obvious question to be asked here — did the city stop putting “all hands on deck” at some point and she’s now putting all hands on deck again? Or is Lightfoot’s plan sinking?