Congressman Rush responds to Mayor Emanuel on Public Safety

Washington, DC – “Last week I personally telephoned top city, state and federal law enforcement officials urging them to join me in a community meeting on June 6th at St. Dorothy Catholic Church, 450 East 78th Street.  At that meeting we will listen to residents and, with their help, take real steps in solving the crisis of violent crime in Beat 624 of the Sixth Police District.  According to police statistics, Beat 624 is the most violent police beat in the city.  My constituents and district office staff live and work, daily, with a situation that is dangerous and clearly out of control.  It cannot continue.

“I am pleased with the first step that Mayor Emanuel has taken even before our meeting.  The redeployment of 500 Chicago police to high crime beats is a hopeful sign.  While this is a temporary measure, I believe steps must be taken for a more long-term solution.  The kind of trust that has to occur between residents and police in order to really prevent and solve crime cannot be built in a three-month deployment.  We will all have to do more.

“I have also called upon federal law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the Illinois State Police to bring their joint resources to bear on this problem.  We need all hands on deck. While policing is a local government function, in an emergency, with the consent of the community, more resources must be deployed in Chicago.  The stakes are extremely high and this is a critical issue. Seniors cannot be afraid to leave their homes and children cannot be afraid to walk to school.

“Realistically we all know there is only so much that police can do.

“Without summer jobs I fear that some of our young people will turn to illegal underground economies that put them into a cycle of violence, prison or death.  Last week, more than a thousand young people, some from Chicago, marched on Washington to demand that summer jobs programs not be cut.  These young people are warning us that without jobs crime will flourish. They are warning us of what we already know…an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.  

“I have introduced H.R. 1901, the “SAY YEA” Bill that will bring more than $6.5 billion dollars into our cities to hire young people in public works jobs. It provides tax incentives for private companies to hire young people. I urge the passage of this vital piece of legislation and I encourage every private employer to find a way to hire young people this summer.

“Our youth deserve better than the budget cuts that we’re offering them right now. “Our seniors have earned the right to be safe and protected in their homes and communities.

“More police will probably help.  But we must get to the root of the problem. Honest neighborhood residents must know they will be protected, long term, if they cooperate with police.  Youth jobs are an absolute necessity and a great beginning.”