As the mayoral election in Chicago came to a close, the issue of crime scored large among voters. Following an increase in homicides to all-time highs during the pandemic, many of all backgrounds expressed a heightened concern for the safety of their neighborhoods. To address this, candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas painted contrasting pictures with their campaigns, advocating either a law-and-order stance or a more progressive approach that focused on deeper underlying causes.
Janae Colquitt, 35, a South Side emergency room technician and Democrat, voted for Johnson and indicated a lack of knowledge as to what to do about crime. “I can’t walk to the lake alone anymore,” Ms Colquitt said. “Crime is a big problem.” Polling showed that as many as two-thirds of Chicagoans felt unsafe from crime.
Brad Walker, 44, a corporate recruiter from the North Side who identified as a political independent, cast his vote for Vallas. Concerning crime issues, he saw the Democratic Party “as an enabling party”. Walker noted a growing problem of catalytic converter thefts in his area and how the city was historically known for cleanliness and safety.
Joseph Klein, 39, a North Side community college teacher, voted for Johnson and his community-driven approach to crime. He thought Vallas’ law-and-order tactics were “thinking that’s going to solve it” and advocated for dealing with root causes of crime. Peter Perry, In contrast, 61, an information technology consultant on the Northwest Side and Republican, thought Vallas was the “least enabler” among the candidates and voted for him.
The election for the next mayor of Chicago has been the discussion point for citizens of the city. Questions about crime, education, and progressive approaches to difficult issues have come up due to the different visions advocated by the candidates. Ultimately, the winner of the election will have the difficult job of unifying the citizens of Chicago.