U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says Chicago’s violence problem can be put into check. Durbin believes the city has the right mayor for the job. “This is a terrible challenging problem but I know this mayor is focused on it and I like his superintendent of police, I think he’s focused as well,” Durbin said. He says he has offered his help in securing support from Washington if need be.
Durbin has worked to curb street violence. This spring he pushed lawmakers in Springfield to pass a measure that would create a commission to oversee the Metro East police departments. The push came after an April visit to his hometown of East St. Louis where Durbin called on the mayor to curb late night club hours in hopes of quelling street violence. East St. Louis has one of the highest rates of violent crimes in the U.S. per capita, according to 2010 FBI statistics. Durbin’s bill passed in both the House and Senate but because of Senate amendments the House must take up the measure again.
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Durbin says each city has its own unique challenges. “The differences [are] stark and dramatic,” Durbin said. He says that unlike in Chicago, the mayor of East St. Louis is ignoring the problems there. “In East St. Louis the mayor [is] in denial. In Chicago the mayor understands the challenges, tackling it head-on,” Durbin said. “It’s a totally different situation.”
Durbin’s comments come after several violent weekends in Chicago starting with Memorial Day weekend, during which 10 people out of 40 shooting victims died. Historically Chicago has seen an uptick in violence during warm weather weekends. Anti-violence groups in Chicago say more police are needed on the streets to help quell the violence.