Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday unveiled her 2022 budget proposal, which includes increased spending on law enforcement amid surging gun violence not seen in several years.
The mayor’s $16 billion spending package boosts police spending to $1.9 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 2021, the Chicago Tribune reported. The proposal came after a bloody weekend that saw nine homicides across the city, 56 people shot and an alderman attacked.
CHICAGO RELATIVE POSED AS RELATIVE OF HOMICIDE VICTIMS TO COLLECT TAX REFUNDS, COVID-19 STIMULUS
“I know that community safety and thriving communities are at the top of all of our minds wherever you live in Chicago,” Lightfoot said in her address to city leaders on Monday.
“Too often, when we talk about community violence, we forget the victims,” she added. “We know of them, but they are more than crime statistics. The lives deeply impacted by the violence that once it comes to their doorstep, it lives on in some form forever.”
Around $400 million would be invested into community safety – $45 million for violence intervention programs and community groups and $10 million for youth diversions programs and wellness programs for Chicago police officers.
In August, Alderman Matt O’Shea told Fox News the Chicago Police Department had lost 1,000 police officers over the years from retirements and smaller academy classes.
Fox News has reached out to the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, for comment on Lightfoot’s proposal.
The budget also proposes $35 million in new and current programs that provide assistance to those experiencing gender-based violence, including mental health resources, legal assistance and other services.
Like other cities, Chicago has experienced a spike in violent crime that began last year in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Sept. 12, the city had 558 homicides, compared to 542 in for the same time frame in 2020, according to police data.
Shootings were also up at 2,490 this year from 2,276 last year.
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Elsewhere in the budget, the city will receive nearly $2 billion from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan, which will be used to fill the city’s budget gap over three years, the newspaper said.