Violent crime in Chicago has been on the decline for two decades, yet as Mayor Rahm Emanuel looks to re-election next year, the scourge of shootings and gang murders still defines the conversation in many neighborhoods, says the Chicago Tribune. Part ugly reality, part perception, the rate of violence in impoverished, mostly black areas has helped shape negative impressions of the first-term mayor as ineffective when it comes to problems afflicting the urban poor, a Tribune poll found.
Voters disapprove of Emanuel’s job performance on crime by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio — 30 percent approve, while 57 percent disapprove. That’s a drop in support of 15 percentage points from a year ago, when 45 percent approved of the mayor’s efforts and 47 percent disapproved. Emanuel said his Police Department has cut the murder rate since a 2012 spike in homicides but acknowledged he has more work to do on the issue. “I’m not going to wait until everybody feels that sense of safety throughout the city, not in parts of the city,” Emanuel said. “We have made gains, but not at the pace or the level or felt the way you need to do. Fighting crime is about creating an environment and a quality of life in every neighborhood so every child counts.”