SUBSCRIPT: Cold weather in Chicago in January... Who knew street crime would go down? Rahm, McCarthy take full credit for... An act of God!?
There used to be wisdom among police officers that said something like this: Don't take credit for things when they are good unless you are ready to take the blame when things go bad. In the "Hooray for Hollywood" mode that Chicago has been since Rahm Emanuel's Grant Park inauguration in May 2011, however, even an act of God can be spun, at least temporarily, as the work of the mayor (and his "team"). So, as temperatures dropped in Chicago on January 18 and January 19, 2012, Rahm Emanuel announced, via the Office of the Mayor, in a press release, as follows:
"The Chicago Police Department has pursued an aggressive strategy to put more cops on the beat in our communities and to get gangs, guns, and drugs off the street. Last night [January 18, 2012], that strategy produced the most important number in crime prevention: zero. Last night, for the first time in nearly a year, there were no shootings and not a single gun crime occurred in the City of Chicago. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the men and women of Chicagoâ€™s finest who, day after day, put themselves in harmâ€™s way to keep our streets safe. We are going to continue to apply our resources where they are needed most so that this achievement becomes the expectation for Chicagoâ€™s communities, not the exception."
This one ranks in the "You've got to be kidding" department. Every cop and every citizen knows that Chicago experiences fewer crimes when the weather gets bitter cold for two reasons. One, there are fewer people on the streets. Two, many of the crimes, gun and otherwise, are taking place indoors and aren't discovered until later.
Rahm Emanuel has made a bigger and bigger joke of the relentless publicity stunts he has been touting since he took over as mayor in May. The place where the most ludicrous of these has been at Chicago Public Schools, where "The Outsiders", a team led by former Rochester Supt. Jean-Claude Brizard and The Wilmette Wonder Tim Cawley, have re- re- re-invented every wheel. But at the Chicago Police Department, under former Newark, New Jersey, top cop Garry McCarthy, the touting and stunting is almost as big. We don't know whether Garry warned Rahm that taking credit for less street crime in bitter cold weather was a bad idea, but we can't wait for next summer. Will Chicago's corporate media ask Rahm, as the hot weather moves through July and August, about how many "no gun violence days" he's responsible for then?
The Rahmsters are really going over the top, and Rahm hasn't even been on the Fifth Floor for a year yet. Usually, anyone who can think knows that short-term data, like a reduction in street crime during a blizzard, is not a significant "fact," no matter how many MBAs tweak the "matrices." Apparently, Rahm believes all Chicago reporters are as corrupt as the handful who recycle his City Hall handouts on a daily basis. Happy winter, Chicago!