Hours after Chicago police confirmed that a fifth person was targeted in a string of abductions and robberies near Wrigley Field over the weekend, Lakeview Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) told his constituents that he has once again asked for an increase in the number of cops assigned to CPD’s Town Hall (19th) District.
“These recent crimes point out the need to have additional police coverage in our entertainment areas along Clark and Halsted,” Tunney said in an email to his constituents Thursday afternoon. “I called CPD leadership yesterday and reiterated the request I have made numerous times that they increase the number of police officers assigned to the 19th District. Short-term, I told them they need to deploy officers to our area for the Halloween weekend.”
There are currently 287 cops assigned to Town Hall, down from 391 officers when Lori Lightfoot became mayor. CPD’s overall force has declined from 13,302 cops to 11,649 under Lightfoot’s administration.
But Tunney has been calling for more staffing in Town Hall since Rahm Emanuel was mayor.
In October 2011, Town Hall’s territory was divided between two police districts, with a total force of 468 officers. Emanuel combined the two districts, and, despite public reassurances by all involved in the merger, staffing began to fall quickly.
Within two years, staffing fell 24% to 356 cops, even as the Wrigleyville and Boystown neighborhoods were slammed with years of record-high robbery totals.
As the local police force weakened, Tunney voted in favor of the city’s massive property tax hike plan in 2015 after (he said) Emanuel promised to raise the local force to a minimum of 366 cops — still well short of the number that patrolled the area before the districts merged, but higher than the 330 or so that were in place when the tax hike passed.
After Lightfoot took office in May 2019, Town Hall staffing quickly reached a post-merger high, peaking at 416 cops in August 2019. It’s been in a slow, steady slide ever since.
Meanwhile, major crime reports in Town Hall are through the roof — up 66% from last year and 25% compared to 2019. Murders are up 200%. Sexual assaults up 24%. Robberies up 48%. Aggravated battery up 17%. Burglary is up 29% (but better than in previous years). Theft up 84%. Motor vehicle theft up 98%.
It seems like the only number going down in Town Hall is the number of cops working there.
Tunney recently announced that he wouldn’t be running for re-election as alderman in February. On Thursday, NBC5 spotted him riding the L, collecting signatures for a possible mayoral campaign against Lightfoot.