CHICAGO — Former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who is considering a mayoral run, addressed the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Wednesday to present public safety strategies.
Duncan said it’s clear that the city is doing to combat crime is not working. During a Zoom presentation, Duncan, who is also the founder of the violence prevention organization Chicago Cred, shared his concerns.
“Chicago has more police, more murders and a lower clearance rate than both New York and L.A. and that has been true sadly for years,” Duncan said.
He blamed part of the problem on the shortage of police manpower. Duncan also criticized the department for shifting 900 officers from beat patrols to a citywide unit he called “ineffective.”
Duncan suggested returning the officers to their district beats.
“The bottom line is there aren’t enough police on patrol walking neighborhoods creating a visible police presence and building trust in order to prevent and solve chronic crimes,” Duncan said.
Duncan also recommends handing off calls for non-violent calls to social service and non-sworn public safety personal. He said it will free up time for officers to focus on the crisis at hand — solving crime.
“There just isn’t any isn’t any sense that they’re gonna go to jail, so having police prevent crimes, having police solve crimes is critically important to reducing violence,” Duncan said.
Duncan wants more money for community-based violence intervention programs. He is calling on public and private sectors to provide more jobs for 16 to 24 year olds. His organization woks with about 50 difference companies to help employ people.
“We’re not asking someone to take them right out of county jail, we’re asking them after they’ve spent a year with us and with our partners helping them stabilize their lives, helping them heal, deal with trauma getting to a place where they can contribute,” Duncan said.
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As he considers a run for mayor, Mayor Lightfoot has accused him of wanting to defund the police. At this time, Chicago police have not returned a request for comment on Duncan’s presentation.