By Bernard Kerik with Scott Kaspar
Monday, 31 January 2022 04:36 PM
2021 was the year of death and violence in Chicago.
Homicides neared 800 — the most of any major city in America including New York and Los Angeles.
Carjacking’s increased making it the most the city has seen in 20 years.
There were 3,561 shootings — a number that becomes even higher considering that in 2019, there were 2,146 shootings. That's a sharp increase in just two years.
150 expressway shootings — doubling the number in 2020.
And in August of last year, it was reported that there were over 1,000 victims and just two convictions — a statistic that should scare every community across Chicagoland, and also regionally.
But unlike any other time in recent memory, the violence is no longer just in the south and west sides of Chicago.
It’s everywhere: River North, Gold Coast, the North Side and now, it’s in the suburbs.
Yes, the suburbs.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office reported 204 homicides in suburban Cook County — a 55% increase since 2019.
Scott Kaspar lives in a sleepy corner of Orland Park, in suburban Cook County, Illinois. There, leaving your garage door open all day while your kids play in the neighborhood is common.
Doors usually are unlocked during the day, and traffic in the area is minimal.
In many ways, up until recently, his neighborhood was the closest thing to a Norman Rockwell painting.
However, we’ve seen crime explode in suburban Chicagoland in the past couple of years.
The occasional carjacking in 2020 has been replaced by weekly carjackings in Orland Park, if not more frequently.
Everyone in Scott’s community knows of a neighbor who has been the victim of a carjacking.
In Oak Brook, Illinois, not far from where Scott and his family live, the local, high-end retail shopping center has recently experienced massive lootings of stores like Louis Vuitton during Thanksgiving week in which more than $120,000 of purses were stolen, or just the other weekend in which more than $32,000 of clothing was stolen from Burberry.
But the unthinkable happened this past Christmas Eve, when a shooting took place at the mall in broad daylight, while thousands of shoppers were trying to complete their last-minute Christmas shopping.
The first duty in public office is to protect the public.
There's no disputing that the heightened crimewave we are seeing in suburban Chicagoland is because our elected officials like Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D-Ill., and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, D-Ill., have failed us.
But merely recognizing the problem is not enough.
Solving the problem of crime plaguing Chicago and its suburbs is the real challenge.
Leaders at all levels in government do not have to reinvent the wheel — they can lean on experts like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and like the co-author of this article, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
They are reflective of leaders who have a proven record of driving down crime in their communities.
When Mayor Rudy Giuliani took office, New York City was the crime capital of the country with over 2,200 homicides per year. That’s more than Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles combined. And by the time Mayor Giuliani and New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik left office in 2001, there were approximately 400 homicides per year.
Parents in some of New York City’s most dangerous neighborhoods used to put their children to bed at night in the bathtub so they wouldn’t get hit by stray bullets in the middle of the night — while they slept.
Under the leadership of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, New York City, saw a significant reduction in crime. By giving police more power and utilizing "stop-and-frisk" policies, homicides dropped by 70%, and in the black communities, by 80%.
But now, we live in very different times:
It’s been said that a country is judged by how they protect the innocent.
Here, Democrats have failed miserably.
It’s time for Republicans to step up and restore law and order.
Without it, we will cease to exist.
(Scott Kaspar is a Republican candidate for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District. Bernard B. Kerik chairs Kaspar’s Public Safety Task Force.)
Bernard B. Kerik was the 40th Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department and is a New York Times bestselling author.