top of page

THREE REASONS why digital-age public safety

is INHERENTLY a citywide responsibility


I. THE POWER TO MAKE CHICAGO SAFE (OR VIOLENT) IS DISTRIBUTED CITYWIDE BY CITYWIDE OWNERSHIP OF DIGITAL-AGE COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES. ​ The ubiquity of cell phones and computers, coupled with the availability of social media gives all Chicagoans the power to record and distribute videos of acts of violence. These devices also give all Chicagoans the power to organize themselves into groups with substantial power to influence public safety policy in Chicago. Use of these devices, along with police dashboard cam videos and security camera videos, now form the basis of much if not most coverage of violence in Chicago's mainstream media. Exhibit A, albeit in Minneapolis, was the nationwide impact of teenager Darnella Frazier's ten-minute video, posted by her on Facebook and Instagram, of the murder by police of George Floyd. Exhibit B, in Chicago, was the filming of the shooting by police of teenage Laquan McDonald The net impact of this citywide diffusion of power is to weaken the power of traditional, industrial age public safety resources (police, courts, prisons) . For all these reasons, the power to make Chicago safe (or violent) in the digital age rests with the people of Chicago. Effectively aggregated and deployed, the people of Chicago are the sine qua non of effective digital-age public safety policy.

II. ONLY A CITYWIDE, MEDIA-BASED COMMITMENT TO GENERATING TRUST CAN REPAIR THE MEDIA-EXACERBATED BREAKDOWN OF TRUST THAT HAS PREVENTED CHICAGO FROM DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SAFETY STRATEGY​ ​ ​The loss of trust that enables Chicagos work together is seen at at City Hall, between citizens and City Hall, between citizens and police and among Chicagoans of all races and backgrounds A primary cause is the divisive and polarizing impact of digital-age election-time political advertising: especially the TV attack ads that deliberate smear the reputations of candidates for all offices citywide and countywide, thereby subverting the TRUST needed for viable government. A secondary cause is decades of sensationalized if-it-leads-it-bleeds news reports of gang, gun and police violence whose impact citywide has been to create a climate of anger, apathy and mistrust in a city cannot address its violence effectively - as a city - without a degree of TRUST The rise of Chicaao youth-centered gangs in the 1960's is an outgrouth of the generation gap of the the 1960's and the "never trust anyone over 30" breakdown of TRUST between young people and adults. This global phenomenon fueled the rise of youth protests in hundreds of cities worldwide on both sides of the Iron Curtain. This today spiraling violence rooted inmistrust and political polarizationhas let to a breAKDOWN OF COMMUNICATIONa diminishing government functionalityin every city, state and nationaround the world.

III. CHICAGO'S VIOLENCE DIGITAL-AGE VIOLENCE IS NOT INDUSTRIAL-AGE VIOLENCE. JUST A CITYWIDE BUT A GLOBAL PHENOMENON. It first erupted during the pre-digital Age of Television with the sudden rise of Chicago's heavily-armed, drug-dealing, youth-victimizing street gangs. It was a citywide (and region wide) phenomenon from the outset because the market for illicit drugs distributed by Chicago's gangs was a citywide and regionwide market. It was also a youth-centered phenomenon whose perpetrators and victims alike were not the adult criminals of Chicago's industrial-age past but the tens of thousands of children lured or bullied into the gangs whose 100,000+ members have overwhelmed the capacities of law enforcement and are at the root of the citywide violence that holds Chicago in its grip today.

bottom of page