CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel wants to use $25 million in Tax Increment Financing funds to make the city safer.
Emanuel outlined his crime agenda at a news conference on Sunday in the Roseland neighborhood.
As WBBM Newsradio 780′s Michele Fiore reports, at the Kids off the Block office at 11621 S. Michigan Ave., Emanuel said he wants to put 1,000 more police officers on the streets.
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“The truth is that violent crime in some of our neighborhoods has reached a proportion that none of us would accept in our community,” Emanuel said. “The next mayor must work hard to reduce crime in every neighborhood across our city.”
Emanuel said he would use TIF money to hire new officers.
The creation of a TIF district freezes property tax dollars for schools, parks, and other taxing districts for at least 23 years, and all property tax increases afterward to go into a fund to improve struggling neighborhoods. TIF districts are intended to spur development in “blighted” communities, but critics say they amount to a slush fund for the mayor’s administration.
Emanuel said he would also focus on after-school programs to combat crime. He said programs such as Kids off the Block are deserving of praise, given that half of the murder victims in Chicago last year were between the ages of 10 and 25.
“Programs in drama, music, sports and community service – these are the excellent alternatives to gangs, to drugs, to guns,” Emanuel said.
Emanuel said he would also reassign officers at Police Headquarters and return them to the street.
“They were trained to be police officers, not clerical workers,” Emanuel said. “Meanwhile, we have a Chicago Police cadet program. We should put those students to work doing administrative tasks, and free up our police to do the job they were trained to do.”