Felony arrests rose slightly last year in Chicago after a decade of declines, due in large part to more drug busts and cops going after people with outstanding warrants, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Officers made 84,717 arrests compared with 82,663 in 2017, a 2 percent increase. So far this year, felony arrests have continued to rise. There were 47,467 through Sunday compared with 43,831 over the same period of 2018, an 8 percent rise. In 2009, there were 181,254 arrests. The totals had steadily decreased year after year until 2018.
Martin Preib of the Fraternal Order of Police, said “A central factor in the decline of arrests is the false vilification of the police by the activist media.” Factors that may have led to the slowdown in arrests over the past decade include a police manpower shortage and officers’ resistance to reforms stemming from a federal civil-rights investigation into the 2014 fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald. Narcotics arrests constituted a large chunk of the 2018 arrests There were 12,647 drug arrests last year, a 21 percent increase over 2017. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said last year’s rise in drug arrests stemmed from officers targeting areas where shootings are connected to narcotics sales, including street corners where dealers are selling marijuana. Authorities are waiting to see how legalization of recreational marijuana as of next Jan. 1 will affect the city’s illegal drug markets and drug arrests.