Public Safety Tops Gen Z Concerns In Chicago’s Mayoral Runoff

The April 4 election will determine who will be the next mayor of Chicago, as Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson go head-to-head in a runoff. Some members of Gen Z are primarily concerned with which candidate will fulfill their commitments regarding public safety in Chicago, specifically Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson.

Will Bailey, a 22-year-old resident from the South Side, shares the crime concerns that the community has. However, there has been no alleviation in these concerns. Comparatively, Chicago Police Department data through February 26 indicates a downward trend in homicides over the past year, when compared to 2021.

He knows how it feels to live in fear. He’s not knowledgeable about politics either. He didn’t vote in the previous election and he hasn’t been paying attention to the mayoral race. “You can still hear the gunshots,” he said.

“You become somewhat desensitized to it,” said Bailey.

Although he is not particularly optimistic, the main issue that he believes politicians should pay attention to is the crime in neighborhoods like his.

“People out here know these politicians ain’t really thinking about us,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter what party they are in.”.

“He desires for the individual who will truly take action,” he is uncertain about which candidate would be most suitable for the city, but he has been closely following the competition, Sean Calloway, a 20-year-old, holds the same doubt towards government officials.

“Both look like they have ideas but ideas in a city like this means nothing without action,” said the Hyde Park resident.

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Johnson and Vallas represent different factions of the Democratic party, with each having opposing stances on several policy fronts. While both are addressing the goals of crime in similar ways, there could be more variations among them.

Paul Vallas | Kamil Krzaczynski via Getty Images

Former Chicago Public Schools official and 2019 mayoral candidate, Vallas, often deployed tough rhetoric on crime throughout his campaign and wants to beef up the city’s police force.

The current mayor Lori Lightfoot’s loss, in under 48 hours, led to the stepping down of Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown. All contenders in the mayoral race on February 28, except Lori Lightfoot, expressed their intention to remove him. His resignation will take effect on March 16.

Brandon Johnson | Kamil Krzaczynski via Getty Images

Johnson, a former organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union and the Cook County Commissioner, has previously expressed support for the “defund the police” movement. On his first day as mayor, he says he will enact a plan to improve transit safety by making guns illegal on the streets, promoting 200 new detectives from the existing ranks, and providing more efficient training for the CPD.

He has modified his statement of “defund the police” to express his support for prudent allocation of funds within the department.

Kyle, 23, previously voted for Johnson because his ideas about addressing crime were trying “to get at the root” of the problems.

He inquired, “Who is he? Has Vallas ever visited the South or West sides?” “He appears to possess a profound comprehension of the challenges our Black communities confront,” based on my reading, but I have not had the opportunity to personally encounter him.

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Kenneth, a 26-year-old resident of Bronzeville, identifies more with V

“He often speaks of community policing, having officers that are on the ground and who know you,” he said. “We need that.”.

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