PR Newswire

Chicago Police superintendent calls for stricter sentencing laws for crimes involving guns

Thursday, Sep 08, 2016

CHICAGO, Sept. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Superintendent Eddie Johnson, the head of the Chicago Police Department, told AM560 'The Morning Answer' hosts, for Upstream Ideas, Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson, that stricter sentencing laws will help bring down the city's spiraling murder and gun violence rate, to levels seen in Los Angeles and New York.

Johnson, speaking after a Labor Day weekend that saw the murder rate break the 500 mark, and with shootings approaching 3,000, blamed "about 1,400 individuals who are repeat gun offenders" for driving the violence.

Five districts out of 25 are "driving the violence," and "out of those five, three of them are seeing the majority of the gun violence in the city", the superintendent told Proft and Jacobson.

"The biggest difference between Chicago and LA and New York is this: LA and New York have real strict sentencing laws as opposed to Chicago," he said. "So in New York if you get caught with a gun the first time around, you do three and a half years in prison no matter what."

In LA, Johnson said, authorities have a  "Use a Gun and You're Done" rule, which means 10 years are tacked on to a sentence for the use of a gun in the commission of a crime.

"Those two cities have stricter gun sentencing laws so if we can get that, that would help us hold these repeat offenders more accountable," Johnson said.

The police chief said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose office has indicated more officers will be hired, will talk about increased manpower in the coming weeks.

"He and I have discussed that frequently," Johnson said. "More than manpower, we have to ensure that we use the manpower that we have efficiently."

Johnson was asked about remarks he made on NBC Nightly News Tuesday, when he said gun violence was not a police issue.

"Yeah, the police don't cause the crime," he said. "Crime is caused by a lot of different variables. You have a lot of social ills that contribute to crime."

Johnson added, "The three police districts that I was speaking of that drive most of our violence are impoverished neighborhoods. They need economic support, jobs, better education, housing, but more importantly in a lot of these neighborhoods we need parents to step up and be parents because all this stuff starts at home."

Law enforcement is facing deep scrutiny across the country, but especially in Chicago, Johnson said. 

"The level of disrespect that you see out there toward police officers from the community it's just – I've never seen it like this," he said.  

Johnson dismissed the idea that the National Guard might be brought in, arguing their members are not trained to deal with "domestic issues."

About Upstream Ideas

Upstream Ideas, under the leadership of Dan Proft – one of Illinois' sharpest political minds, provides expository content with new information and fresh perspectives meant to inform policy discussions, debunk faulty premises and challenge accepted orthodoxies. Proft is one of Chicago's most-respected talk radio personalities and a senior fellow at the Illinois Policy Institute, a free-market think tank. He is also a frequent editorial contributor to the Chicago Tribune.


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