What’s a new head of police to do when he is given the job to temporarily run a huge police department after the last guy got fired – and crime increases some 200 percent under his watch? Blame Facebook. According to a Breitbart report last Friday, John Escalante – who is the interim police superintendent since Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired former chief Garry McCarthy – has seen shootings in the Windy City increase greatly since the department became his watch.
Among Escalante’s reasons for the increase in crimes is an incredibly hopeless response. He is blaming Facebook and other social media outlets for the increased violence in Chicago. It’s a hopeless answer to the continuing and growing problem because, as everyone know, Facebook and social media aren’t going anywhere. They are obviously here to stay.
The logic, if there is any, behind Escalante’s blame of Facebook is that he says gangbangers use social media to taunt one another with their Internet usage as their vehicle. Of the tremendous increase in violence, the new police head said:
A lot of it is gang conflicts but also heavily driven by social media. It is the way of taunting and challenging other gangs, and it is the modern way of gang graffiti.
The gang graffiti of the past was gang signs scrawled on garages down Chicago’s alleyways. The solution wasn’t to blame the garage doors. In current times, it appears that is what Chicago’s top cop is trying to do. Blame the vehicle where the gangbangers post their taunts and insults. But logically, it’s going to happen. Just like the garages couldn’t be torn down one by one with the gang signs posted, social media can’t be torn down. Deal with the garage doors and the social media. They are legally there.
A given fact is that posting gang signs, insults and taunts is going to happen. So, “the given” cannot be part of the solution. What is being posted on the Internet may give clues as to who is doing the gang taunting, but that is as assistive as it can be. And what the cops are using to catch gang activity in the city would best not be publicized anyway. Basically, the public comment blaming Facebook and social media for Chicago’s wave of shootings in recent weeks tells gangbangers that “they are watching.” Other than that, the comment doesn’t really help anyone else.
DNAInfo reported recently that Chicago cops are making fewer stops and alleged searches. Some are blaming that for the increase in crime. However, it’s doubtful to some that this has much to do with the latest crime wave. Chicago cops are notorious for cruising the main thoroughfares of the city and making random stops. Anyone who travels the city extensively knows that most gangbangers hide in the shadows down the side streets, between parked cars. They aren’t often found out along the main drag where the cops are often found making their random stops. Some say that the cops have stopped making many stops of citizens because they don’t want to be blamed for wrongdoing – as many of them have been accused of doing during a stop. However, a stop made respectfully and with explained purpose would not result in a negative reaction. I was recently stopped, the officers approached my vehicle from both sides of my vehicle, and the officer looked at me and said, “Wrong car!” and left. That’s not a problem whatsoever.
Others say that the officers are protesting the paperwork involved with making a stop. The paperwork is likely required for the protection of the officer as well as the person stopped. Whatever it is, it doesn’t appear that many of the stops the cops have been making in the past would put much of a dent in the crime rate. If it was effective, it would most likely have be reported on as being effective. Escalante hasn’t mentioned it.
If it isn’t common sense, perhaps training is needed to advise officers where and in which situations to make a beneficial stop that makes the best use of their time on the job. No, the cops shouldn’t be required to have a “crystal ball” which tells them from a distance if someone is harmful or not, but like many other common sense judgements, it’s about location, location, location for the most part.
If citizens traveling the city can figure this out, Escalante and his police force ought to be able to figure it out, too. Some say that they stop people along the safe thoroughfares who aren’t necessarily of danger just so they look like they’re doing something. It may be true – or it may not be.
I hate to tell the story of the time I was stopped in the past couple of years. The cop spent 15 minutes lecturing me about something, and then the next morning I read that less than a mile away from where I was stopped on a main thoroughfare, a 17-year-old kid was shot to death on a corner in the neighborhood. The kid was shot at the exact same time I was patiently letting the cop have his say during a totally unnecessary stop. I hate to tell this story because it shouldn’t be happening. I think of this every time I am stopped for apparently no good reason in which reasons for the stop are not given.
Escalante might want to consider blaming what can’t be changed, social media, for Chicago’s woes. What he can do is instruct his cops to quit spending a great deal of their time on the main thoroughfares to stop crime and to get deep into the neighborhoods where the serious crimes are actually occurring. Check the addresses of the latest murders and shootings in the city. That supports this claim that the crimes aren’t necessarily where the cops are often found on the main streets. Other than odd, infrequent and unsolved drive-by shootings on the expressways, the crimes are happening in the neighborhoods. Nobody has all the answers, obviously, or the situation wouldn’t be what it is. But some degree of logic should come into play.
The DNAInfo report says that in 2016 so far, investigative stops have dropped 79 percent over the same period last year. For folks on the main thoroughfares trying to get someone, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, for the gangbangers hiding between parked cars at all hours down the side streets in the neighborhoods, it’s a great thing. DNAInfo also reports that gun confiscations and arrests are each down more than 35 percent this year while the crime is increasing. To the naked eye, a great deal of the problem with not determing and solving the crimes is somewhat logical. Location, location, location.