Officials blame weak sentencing for murder rate

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Chicago is not the only city dealing with an increase in murders, Detroit’s murder rate up by about 12 percent.  St. Louis is also dealing with something similar.

It is the fact that Chicago went over that 500 number that gained it some national attention.  In New York the number was a little over 400 murders.  Some will tell you maybe Chicago needs to follow what New York is doing to get the rate to drop.

Chicago’s beautiful skyline– New York’s massive one.  Two stunning views but staring down completely different pictures.

While Chicago is battling the title as the nation’s murder capital, New York, three times its size, celebrates its lowest murder rate in half a century.

“Their laws are stronger when it comes to guns.” State’s attorney Anita Alvarez points to stiffer sentences for gun crimes as one key difference between the two cities.  The minimum sentence in Chicago—one year– which means “We’ve seen cases where they’ve served 61 days.”

In New York– the minimum is three and a half years.

“If mandatory minimums existed in Illinois, he would not be able to commit this heinous act,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy this week talking about one of the suspects in the Hadiya Pendleton case.

He was on probation for a gun crime when he killed the 15-year-old.  Alvarez agrees the case for stricter penalties is stacking up. “If we can keep them off the streets longer we will see a difference,” she said.

At the University of Chicago crime lab they have crunched the numbers. “In many ways Chicago is not New York, you can’t just copy what they’re doing.”

But you can study it, and Harold says raising the minimum can help.

“Here in Chicago we’ve done a good job with police very focused on firearms.  Meaning state’s attorney, prosecutors and judges.  Why?  We need to have a change in mindset.”

In the end it is up to judges to impose the tougher penalties.  Of course there are concerns of what longer sentences may do to the state’s prison system when there is already no money.

“Do I think that it’s something that’s doable?” Alvarez said “Yes I do– we won’t be overburdened by this.”

Going to Springfield to raise the minimum, Alvarez has asked prosecutors to automatically ask for the maximum sentence in all cases regardless of how they think a judge may react to it.  Springfield will take this up in the spring.

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  • kirby1414

    All of you that are for the dealth penalty – – YOU ARE SOOOO RIGHT!!! And from what I"ve seen on one of the cable channels – – there are prisons that are making $$$$ – – using the inmates for jobs- the $$$ goes to the prison and the inmates.

  • Tommy Boy

    Good luck getting this implemented in Crook County. This is the land of of plea bargains. The State's Attorneys want high conviction rates so they can boost their chances of getting hired by big law firms that offer big pay checks. Many become defense attorneys defending the thugs tomorrow they are supposedly prosecuting today. They wont even approve charges in many gun possession cases without signed confessions because they don't want to go to trial. They want a slam dunk plea of guilty to a plead down charge with no jail time or minimum time. The liberal judges in this county are just as bad.

  • Rich

    The problem isn't poverty, during the great depression the murder rate was not sky high. The root problem is parenting, which goes hand in hand with kids not getting whooping from their parents because kids have too many rights and lawyers know how to manipulate the system. Another problem is the prison system, for hardened criminals prison simply isn't enough of a deterrent, its business as usual for hardened criminals inside prison. Prison needs to be a place where the criminals have 0 rights, 0 privleges, and 0 contact with other prisoners but once again lawyers manipulate the system to in effect take away the prison deterent to a hardend criminal. The last thing is sentencing, I dont care how full the prisons are, they need to make room in their for violent criminals. Let the non violent offenders out early but the violent ones need the book thrown at them and they need to serve their full sentences.

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