Supt. Garry McCarthy “isn’t the man” to fix Chicago’s crime problem and should stand aside to let somebody else run Chicago’s police department, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
The business newspaper’s editorial board wrote in an editorial Monday that “violence is getting worse in Chicago, even as crime rates continue to drop in other big cities,” adding, “McCarthy has had four years. It’s time to turn to someone else.”
It noted that the rate of shootings has increased this year, a trend it says is hurting Chicago’s ability to “recruit and retain talent.” And while Crain’s says it doesn’t have an answer of how to better tackle crime than McCarthy, it says “we need a police chief who can help us find them.”
Though speculation was rife following Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election earlier this year that McCarthy might be replaced, the mayor last month told the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman that McCarthy would be staying for Emanuel’s entire four-year second term.
McCarthy, who is currently on a “listening tour” of Chicago neighborhoods, has come under fire for his heavy reliance on paying officers overtime. His recent comments over the death of Rekia Boyd — killed by off-duty police officer Dante Servin, who was acquitted at trial of manslaughter by a judge on narrow, technical grounds — also attracted controversy.
Emanuel two weeks ago appointed former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot to run the Police Board, which will be charged with conducting the national search for McCarthy’s replacement, if and when he does step down.
While shootings are on the rise, homicides in Chicago — the key metric by which superintendents tend to be judged — have been trending downwards since they hit 943 in 1992.
McCarthy survived a spike of 516 homicides in 2012 — the highest total in the last decade — but last year’s 432 homicides was the lowest total since 1965.
Whatever the total ends up at this year, Spike Lee’s forthcoming movie, “Chiraq,” is likely to keep the spotlight on Chicago’s murder problem, which nonetheless had only the 21st highest per capita murder rate in the nation, even in its worst recent year.