CHICAGO - Amid nationwide calls to defund police departments and a rise in crime in major cities, the number of Chicago cops that have retired this year has already surpassed all of the retirements in 2018 and are on track to be the highest number in the department’s history.
The figures come from the police pension board, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. It shows that between January and June, some 363 officers called it quits, and another 56 were expected to retire this month.
"We are on track, I believe to have one of the highest retirement numbers in the city’s history," Ald. Ray Lopez told the newspaper.
Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera, citing Superintendent David Brown and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, wrote that the city’s roughly 117,000 gang members outnumber the city’s 13,000 police officers by roughly 10 to 1.
"To me, the miracle in Chicago isn’t that 11 were killed this weekend and 19 the weekend before, it’s that it was not worse than that," Rivera later said to Fox News Digital, elaborating on his earlier comments.
He blamed the push to keep police officers from enforcing the law for enabling the type of environment that leads to 117,000 gang members like in Chicago.
"All you can do with this defund the police nonsense is ignore the fact that you are essentially assigning a third-world existence to a huge segment of the population all in the name of anti-racism," Rivera said.
Meanwhile, Fox News’ Gianno Caldwell, a Chicago native, said residents are losing trust in the leadership of Mayor Lori Lightfoot as well as in city officials’ ability to protect its residents.
"Considering that we have had two weekends this year with over 100 people shot in Chicago, I would say the city is in war zone status," Caldwell said in a statement.
Police leaders nationwide have said they are struggling with the increase in shootings and homicides. They're grappling with retirements and fewer staff and a difficulty in recruiting officers to help push back.
President Joe Biden on Monday met at the White House with urban leaders — including Eric Adams, the heavy favorite to be the next mayor of New York City — to tackle increased shootings, as Democrats warily watch a surge across the nation.
Though limited to what can be done at the federal level, Biden promised to support efforts on the ground to combat crime.
"We know when we utilize trusted community members and encourage more community policing, we can intervene before the violence erupts," the president said.
After the meeting, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown tweeted, "we need a sense of urgency right now so we can save lives and serious consequences for those driving gun violence in our cities."
The meeting was the second in just three weeks. Big city mayors and lawmakers have sounded the alarm on the rise in crime, believed partly fueled by destabilizing forces of the pandemic, and polls suggest it is an increasing matter of concern for many Americans.
Federal statistics show significant increases in murder nationwide, though spikes in crime are common in the summer months. The federal government has been trying to step up its efforts, launching strike forces in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., to help address illegal gun trafficking.