’60 Minutes’ Report: Chicago Crime Up, Police Response Down

(CBS) — Once again, Chicago is making national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

New York Times readers woke up Thursday morning to see a crime-related story about Chicago. Meanwhile, CBS news show “60 Minutes” is set to air a comprehensive look at crime here on Sunday.

CBS 2’s Chelsea Irving reports.

“It was truly disturbing to see a city so on the edge,” says veteran CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker, who spent a week in Chicago looking into the city’s violent crime epidemic.

The most alarming find was that in the last year while Chicago’s crime rate has gone up, police activity has gone down, by 80 percent. Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy calls that “horrific.”

“There’s not an excuse that could be made in my book,” he says.

McCarthy tells “60 Minutes” the problems cannot be overstated.

“We are reaching a state of lawlessness, right? That’s what’s happening,” he says.

Former Chicago police officer Brian Warner says police are holding back because of the increased scrutiny on — and regulation of — officers. He says officers are responding to 9-1-1 calls, but they are not aggressively patrolling and looking for law-breakers as they once did.

Warner points to an October arrest during which Police Officer Veronica Murillo says fear of public scrutiny kept her from pulling her gun on a violent suspect.

She suffered neurological damage from blows to her head.

“Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. It’s a major, major city. What happens there, well, it’s important,” Whitaker says.

He says he hopes the “60 Minutes” report brings about some positive change.

The Emanuel Administration issued this response:

“Because there is no single cause, there is no single solution, which is why the mayor is taking an all-of-the-above approach, including hiring 1,000 new police officers, making mentoring universal, and investing in citywide economic development.”

Whitaker says Chicago can learn from Los Angeles and New York in how to turn the tide of surging crime.

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