To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth. – Teddy Roosevelt
Let’s first stipulate that, as the Tribune reported last year, crime in Elgin, Illinois, is at a 49-year low. So, this column won’t be just another specious conservative attempt to co-opt one or two high-profile incidents in an effort to paint The City in the Suburbs as Chiraq, the sequel.
We’re not there quite yet.
But we all know that perception is far more powerful than any reality and most Elginites believe crime is way up because, by the City’s own numbers, shooting incidents have doubled year over year since 2020. Since weapon-involved police reports are more prone to making the papers than your garden variety residential burglary, whether it’s deserved or not, Elgin is rapidly developing a reputation as a dangerous place to live.
And make no mistake, this troubling trend is the direct result of the progressive City Council posse – Corey Dixon, Tish Powell, Carol Rauschenberger, and John Steffen – implementing anti-police policies that, left unchecked, will inevitably turn Elgin into a microcosmic version of the hyperviolent City of Chicago.
Also, for the record, the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and George Floyd’s murder are utterly unacceptable under any circumstances. No one should die at the hands of the police for selling loose cigarettes or trying to pass a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. But as we’ve previous discussed, the solution to those difficult problems isn’t to reduce law enforcement to ineffective bystanders, it’s to root out the bad officers.
This “defund the police” mindset begins with progressive politicians’ expectations of perfection from police officers. But then they hold the bizarre belief that minority offenders deserve an undue leeway because they’re inherently good but vastly misunderstood. “If they only had a chance,” they say. If only they were free from a persistent police harassment, they’d magically turn into upstanding citizens.
And it’s exactly this dangerous mindset that’s led to San Francisco’s de facto legalization of shoplifting and turned Chicago into the Midwestern version of Juarez, Mexico.
Adam Toledo’s a martyr? Really? The kid was running down a dark alley with a gun and gets shot dead as a result and Chicago’s solution is to ban police foot chases? Why not just dress their officers in tutus and arm them with magic wands? Perhaps if Toledo’s mother, who’s profiting immensely from her son’s death, paid half as much attention to him while he was alive he’d still be alive.
Despite progressives’ best efforts to rewrite reality, the truth is, as former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin so aptly noted on my former radio show, it’s the same 300 to 500 gangbangers who are responsible for 80 percent of Chicago’s absurd gun violence. They key is to lock these kids up before they can strike again, but with The City That Doesn’t Work diving headlong into the bond reform abyss and the CPD essentially operating with one hand tied behind their back that ain’t gonna happen.
So, now businesses are moving out of the City en masse because violence isn’t good for business.
Don’t believe me? Then lets head back to Aurora, Illinois,’ 2012 “Miracle Year” where there wasn’t a single homicide within the city limits. I’ve repeatedly discussed that incredible feat with the Aurora anti-gang officers involved and I know exactly how they pulled it off.
It starts with identifying chronically violent gang members, not a terribly difficult feat, and proceeds with applying a balanced and proactive police interdiction based on a reasonable intelligence effort.
They monitored the gangs’ social media accounts because that’s where the violent confrontations always started. These “criminal masterminds” weren’t above describing exactly what they were about to do on Facebook which gave the APD plenty of time to intervene.
They would also perform “knock and talks” which meant stopping by known gang members’ residences to talk with them and their parents. This tactic was particularly effective with newer gang members. “Wellness checks” at known gang hangouts were another successful strategy.
Just like it is with most major metropolitan police departments, they’d pull over known gang members for minor traffic offenses, but rarely write a ticket. In fact, my favorite APD interdiction strategy stopping a gang member’s vehicle only to compliment on their “amazing” driving. Even the gangbangers found that one to be amusing.
Those tactics were all part of an overarching strategy that let these likely violent offenders know they were on the APD radar.
But police forces can’t do that kind of thing these days because progressives shrieked that it was racial “profiling” and that kind of heinous racist practice could not be tolerated. Done correctly it’s not racial “profiling.” It’s criminal profiling based on an individual’s interminable rap sheet, the color of the individual’s skin is utterly immaterial.
Of course, the irony there is, allowing chronic minority offenders to proceed with impunity only reinforces the unreasonable stereotypes against those minority groups, exacerbating the problem progressives think they’re solving. Progressives never seem to fail in their persistent effort to make things worse instead of better.
And the consequences of this faulty thinking will get far more dire, too. Prior to this exponential increase in Elgin shootings, the EPD used many of the sane tactics the APD applied in 2012. But with an unreasonable backlash against those efforts perpetrated primarily by the City Council Gang of Four, Elgin shootings are becoming far too commonplace. And last weekend provided yet another perfect example.
Six people were shot and two killed (so far) at a Saturday evening gathering at the Blackhawk apartments on the 900 block of Congdon Avenue. Though the EPD hasn’t released many details, and it could still turn out to be a random event, I’d be willing to bet good money this was a gang related mass shooting incited by a social media confrontation.
But with the Gang of Four’s insistence on removing the APD’s teeth in the name of a bullshit “wokeness,” these kinds of shootings will continue to occur with an ever-increasing frequency. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at any Chicago weekend body count.
As long as we have irresponsible parents we will have street gangs. So, since they can’t be eliminated, the best law enforcement can do is apply a reasonable interdiction to keep them in check, because, if they don’t it will only get worse.
Put more simply, the solution to this Elgin shooting problem requires a balanced effort, but that “balance” can only come when every perspective is considered. It certainly won’t come from illegal proposals from a destructive “citizens police task force” appointed solely for their racial backgrounds and overly progressive leanings.
We need police officers who are willing to listen to and work with minority groups to mitigate the issues that needlessly drive a wedge between them. We need Elgin citizens of all races and ethnic backgrounds to keep their eyes open and immediately report suspicious activity to the police. We need a police task force that works with, not against, the police to make Elgin a better place for everyone and not simply seek to redress past grievances.
The City of Aurora proved all of that is possible, though even they’ve lost their way in the homicide regard since them.
But most of all we need Elgin city councilmen who have the foresight to understand that there are consequences to their every action. Because as long as Dixon, Powell, Rauschenberger, and Steffen believe they can implement dangerous police policies for their own political gain, it’s going to get worse long before it’s gets better.
You see, when it comes to voting Elgin, you always get exactly what you deserve.