Back in July 2021, Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot made a fuss about a gun tip hotline that she funded with one million dollars of the city’s budget, so people “who have a conscience” can take a bite out of crime and get rewarded to do so.
But one year after the program began, only a small number of tips have been verified and rewarded with a payout. And to date, only just over .01 percent — $10,395 — of the one million-dollar fund has been paid out to tipsters, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Lightfoot made a big flourish over the tipster program in July of last year.
“I want you to know that I recognize that people are scared, people all over the city. This is the topic of conversation,” Lightfoot said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Gun violence is holding us back from realizing our individual potential and our potential and greatness as a city.”
Lightfoot’s handpicked police superintendent, David Brown, added, “This incentive will not only bring honest people forward because of that anonymity but likely will bring people who may be involved, who have a conscience,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
It took nearly ten months for the first tip to the mayor’s “Gun Trafficking and Homicide Tip Line” to be rewarded. In May of this year, the very first tip that resulted in an arrest and charge found the tipster being paid $10,000, according to WFLD.
According to the city’s infographic for the hotline, tipsters will be paid $3,000 if their tip leads to charges of someone buying or illegally selling ten or more guns, they will receive $5,000 if someone is convicted of the crime, they can get $10,000 for tips leading to a homicide charge, and they will be rewarded $15,000 if those charged with homicide are convicted.
The tip line number is (833) 408-0069.
Lightfoot’s fund is not the only place tipsters can earn a payout. Chicago Crime Stoppers also pays $1,000 for tips leading to an arrest and the filing of felony charges on gun crime cases.
But, after a year in existence, it seems that the mayor’s tip line has not drummed up much work for the Chicago Police Department. According to information obtained by People’s Fabric, Chicago Northwest Side News, the CPD has only logged 44 calls from the tip line.
They provided this breakdown, showing they typically received between 2 and 6 calls per month, with a spike in January. pic.twitter.com/sODWTN5zHc
— The People’s Fabric (@peoplesfabric) May 3, 2022
Despite the sparse effectiveness of the tip line, Mayor Lightfoot has tried to make political hay out of the effort and touted the tip line as one of “Chicago’s key accomplishments in 2021.”
Arne Duncan, former Obama Education Secretary and frequently mentioned possible candidate for the mayor’s office, blasted Lightfoot for her thoughtless attempts to fight crime.
“Strategies that aren’t thought out, that aren’t thoughtful, that aren’t implemented, that’s almost like the worst possible scenario. This stuff is really hard, it’s complex, but headlines and P.R. don’t keep people alive,” Duncan said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “The fact that this is literally a matter of life and death and the fact we are losing so many lives is untenable. This is the crisis facing our city.”
Indeed, Lightfoot’s crime fighting success has been spotty, at best.
The Chicago Police reported that there have been 411 homicides in the Windy City so far this year, according to the Tribune. That is an 17 percent drop from the 495 homicides during the same period last year. The CPD also noted that the number of shooting victims — not all of which resulted in a death — are down 19 percent this year, with 2,163 so far this year compared to 2,676 last year.
However, the crime numbers from 2021 were a huge increase with close to 800 homicides, a number not seen in 30 years. There were also 4,300 shootings last year, a major jump over the 2,800 shot in 2018.
So, a truthful look at the numbers shows that 2022 is only a marginal drop over 2021, a year that saw a huge jump in crime. Meaning that, except for 2021, crime is still way up over years prior to 2021.
Despite the mayor’s attempts to put on a happy face and claim the city has “less crime” and tout a tip line that has been less than marginal, it is clear that Lightfoot’s campaign to fight crime has been a massive failure. Sadly, this tip line is typical for its futility.
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