Chicago: Chicago Police Superintendent, Eddie Johnson announced on September 21, that the City plans to add nearly 1,000 new police officers to the streets, in an effort to fight the rise in violent crime in the city.
Chicago in 2016, has suffered over 500 homicides, which surpasses the entire count for 2015, and is higher than the number of homicides in New York and Los Angeles, COMBINED.
Plans call for sending over 500 of the new officers into the highest crime areas. Others will be sent to areas of the city, where the police force has been under-manned.
The cost of adding the additional officers will be high, especially on a city whose financial situation is already facing a crisis. Projections are the annual cost of salaries alone, will top $140 million. On top of that will be additional unfunded liabilities to the city’s pension system. Over the next 20 years, the additional cost to taxpayers will be well north of $1 Billion.
But given the unprecedented level of homicides and other violent crimes, the city’s national reputation is increasingly at risk. And with that potential loss in reputation, is the potential to lose hundreds of millions of dollars that come into the city each year, from tourists as well as business trade shows and conventions.
It’s not clear how the city will cover the additional cost of the police hires, but Johnson noted that the city is paying about $50 million in overtime, which could be applied to the cost of the new hires. Others have pointed out the city pays about $50 million annually in compensation to victims of police misconduct. If that cost could be greatly diminished, about two-thirds of the cost of the new hires could be covered.