Crime was on the minds of Chicagoans on this January 16th in 1925.
The city was earning a reputation as the wildest metropolis in the world. In the past five years robberies had gone up 35%, while the numbers of rapes, bombings, and arson cases were rising at an alarming rate. In just the last two years, murders had more than doubled.
Many experts blamed the crime problem on the Prohibition act. Alcoholic beverages had been banned, and bootlegger gangs now controlled the liquor trade. Violence was part of their business. Everyday citizens were losing respect for the law, too.
Still, Prohibition wasn't going to be junked any time soon. So what could be done about Chicago's crime? A visiting priest had one answer.
Abbe Ernest Dimnet was the canon of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He was a respected French author whose books were becoming popular in English translation. The abbe was stopping in Chicago on a lecture tour.
Mayor Lewis Shank of Indianapolis was also in town to give a speech to a business breakfast. Shank had said the way to fix Chicago crime was to hire smarter policemen.