When Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill which abolished the death penalty in Illinois on Wednesday 9 March 2011, some Death Penalty Abolitionists claim that Illinois will be a safer and more civilized and humane place to live. But early this year (2012) prove them wrong, homicides in Chicago soared by 60 percent in the first three months of 2012, continuing a troublesome trend that began late last year. A philosopher and a researcher warned that abolishing capital punishment will increase homicide and their words were proven right!
French philosopher Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre: “All grandeur, all power, and all subordination to authority rests on the executioner: he is the horror and the bond of human association. Remove this incomprehensible agent from the world and at that very moment order gives way to chaos, thrones topple and society disappears.”
From 2001 to 2007, 12 academic studies were carried out in the US that examined the impact of the death penalty on local crime rates. They explored the hypothesis that as the potential cost of an action increases, so people are deterred from doing it. Nine out of twelve of the studies concluded that the death penalty saves lives. Some of their findings are stunning. Professors at Emory University determined that each execution deters an average of 18 murders. Another Emory study found that speeding up executions strengthens deterrence: for every 2.75 years cut from an inmate’s stay on death row, one murder would be prevented. Illinois has just voted to stop executions across the state. According to a University of Houston study, that could be a fatal mistake. It discovered that an earlier Illinois moratorium in 2000 encouraged 150 additional homicides in four years. (As Britain debates the death penalty again, studies from America confirm that it works US politics August 5th, 2011)
The Chicago Tribune reported on Thursday 12 April 2012 the following article here: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-12/news/ct-met-chicago-homicides-soar-20120412_1_nonfatal-shootings-chicago-homicides-chicago-lawn
Chicago homicides soar in first quarter of 2012
April 12, 2012|By Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune reporter
Homicides in Chicago soared by 60 percent in the first three months of 2012, continuing a troublesome trend that began late last year. Nonfatal shootings also rose sharply in the first quarter, Police Department statistics show.
The worsening violence comes as the Emanuel administration touts its efforts to combat gang crime and add officers and resources to some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.
Chicago police blame street gangs for much of the violence. Another contributing factor for the rise in homicides was the unseasonably warm weather this past winter, according to criminologists, but Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy scoffed at that explanation earlier this year.
"In better weather, people are outside more, interacting more with neighbors, acquaintances, even strangers, and there's greater opportunity for conflict than when it's cold and windy," said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern University in Boston.
Fox and other experts caution that concluding too much from a few months of crime statistics can be misleading and noted that in recent years Chicago has been at historic lows for homicides. But in 2008, the city saw similar spikes early in the year and ended up with more than 500 homicides, the only time that has happened in the last nine years.
From Jan. 1 through April 1 this year, 120 homicides were recorded in Chicago, up sharply from 75 in the same period in both 2011 and 2010, according to department statistics. Nonfatal shootings totaled almost 490 in the first three months of 2012, up 37 percent from a year earlier.
Crime in every other major category fell, including a 15 percent drop in sexual assaults and a 10 percent decline in burglaries. Overall crime dropped 10 percent citywide, according to the department.
To combat violence in two of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods, McCarthy saturated "conflict zones" in the Englewood and Harrison police districts with additional officers early this year as a long-term strategy.
But the early results appear mixed. Through April 1, homicides fell to six in the Harrison District on the West Side, down from nine a year earlier. But killings almost doubled in the Englewood District on the South Side, jumping to 15 from eight. Nonfatal shootings rose sharply in both districts, however.
Homicides were also up sharply in the Ogden and Chicago Lawn police districts, the statistics show.
In mid-January, McCarthy trumpeted that Chicago had gone 24 hours without a single homicide or shooting. But by near the end of the month, killings had risen 54 percent. At the time, McCarthy expressed confidence that homicides would go down when shootings fell. At that point, the number of shootings was the same as in 2011. But since the beginning of 2012, nonfatal shootings have risen by more than a third.
During one particularly violent weekend last month, 49 people were shot — 10 of them fatally, including a 6-year-old girl as she sat between her mom's legs on the family's Little Village front porch. The violence was largely concentrated on the South and Southwest sides.
In the last two weeks of March, the violence continued unabated. The department's statistics show that 26 people were killed and more than 80 nonfatal shootings occurred from March 19 through April 1.
At the end of March, McCarthy reshuffled his command staff, replacing commanders in five of the city's 23 districts.
"We took a pretty big hit for the first quarter of this year," Bob Tracy, chief of the department's crime control strategies, acknowledged in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Tracy said a lot of retaliatory shootings among "some of our younger gang members" contributed to the spike.
Tracy insisted that keeping officers on beat patrols will prove more effective in the long run than having cops work in specialized units like the now-defunct Mobile Strike Force. The department is making strides in ensuring that its beat officers and citywide gang units work more closely together to determine where gang conflicts exist and identify their main players, he said.
"We're making sure the intelligence is in the hands of the officers," Tracy said. "As we keep our plan going, I think in the long run you're going to start seeing a decline in the violence."
The president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file cops, continued to blame the rising violence on the department's failure to replace retiring officers.
"Any officer will tell you that the Chicago Police Department is short-staffed, except for the superintendent," said Michael Shields. "This year's budget was balanced at the expense of public safety."
Law Professor and former federal prosecutor, Bill Otis once said in The Federalist Society Online Debate Series Death Penalty June 19, 2008:
The centerpiece of the argument -- that we are safer without capital punishment and its costs than with it -- is demonstrably incorrect. Indeed, recent history proves beyond sensible dispute that we are more secure when executions are carried out and more endangered when they are not.
In the late sixties and seventies, the United States had a virtual moratorium on executions. From the end of 1965 through 1980, there were only six of them. Over that same 15-year period, the murder rate DOUBLED. It rose from 5.1 murder victims per 100,000 to 10.2. The number of murders in 1965 was slightly less than 10,000; the number in 1980 was 23,040 -- an increase of somewhat more than 13,000 murder victims.
When the moratorium petered out and executions began again in significant numbers, a very different picture emerged. In the 15-year period from 1991 to 2005 (inclusive), there were 861 executions. In that same period, the murder rate dropped from 9.8 to 5.5 -- a decrease of 44%. The number of murder victims decreased from 24,700 to about 16,200. In other words, with the end of the moratorium and the resumption of executions, there were more than 8000 fewer murder victims in a single year. To my knowledge, no one has claimed, much less shown, that funneling more money to the police will result in anything approaching that improvement.
Of course it may well be that circumstances in addition to the resumption of capital punishment contributed to the precipitous decline in the murder rate. But to say that we would be safer by eliminating the death penalty simply blinks the reality of the last 40 years.
Bill Otis was correct! I agree that the homicide rate is affected by other factors in addition to capital punishment but if you look at countries that like the United Kingdom and South Africa, their homicide rates have more than doubled since the abolition of the death penalty in their own countries. That is why Illinois should bring back the death penalty now! We need to save lives!