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Police tape marks off a Chicago street as officers investigate the scene of a fatal shooting in the city’s South Side on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.

Teresa Crawford

The Rundown: More cops don’t always lead to less crime

Good afternoon! It’s Tuesday, and it sounds like some folks are having trouble with the time change and the days getting darker earlier. So here’s a bright spot, and here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. Hiring more cops may not curb Chicago’s violence

Officials in Chicago and other major U.S. cities have proposed hiring more police officers as they search for solutions to a surge in violence during the pandemic. But evidence shows that boosting the number of officers doesn’t always lead to a decline in crime, reports The New York Times.

Experts say several factors can play a role in whether crime goes up or down. And Chicago offers one example. In 2016, the city announced it would hire nearly 1,000 officers, but shootings began dropping before the officers were recruited and trained.

“As long as Chicago has a cold winter, crime is going to drop,” Tracy Siska, the executive director of the Chicago Justice Project, told the Times. “So you can’t say that crime went down because they hired all these new officers — no, no, no.”

So what’s the solution? This part of the Times report stands out: “In a recent survey of criminal justice experts, about two-thirds agreed that increasing police budgets would improve public safety. But many more of them — 85 percent — said that increasing spending on housing, health and education would do so.” [New York Times]

2. More than 360,000 children under 12 have received a COVID-19 vaccine

That’s according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which last week authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11.

As The Washington Post reports, school mandates on vaccinations are already geared up to become the next political battle in the pandemic.

Some states have already prepared plans to require COVID-19 shots as soon as federal regulators give the vaccines full approval, which could happen next year. But other states are trying to prevent school mandates. [WaPo]

Meanwhile, a federal judge today ruled that United Airlines can put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave. [NPR]

In Chicago, more employees at the Police Department are reporting their vaccination status, causing the inoculation rate to drop. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Live Nation, a company behind Astroworld, has a history of safety violations

Live Nation, the world’s largest live-events company that helped promote the deadly Astroworld music festival, has been linked to about 200 deaths and at least 750 injuries since 2006, the Houston Chronicle reports. NPR has also found numerous OSHA citations against Live Nation.

At least 12 lawsuits have been filed against Live Nation and rapper Travis Scott since Friday, when eight people were killed after the crowd at Astroworld suddenly surged during a performance by Scott. [NPR]

Meanwhile, Scott is coming under more scrutiny for encouraging a raucous atmosphere at his shows. A 2019 Netflix documentary shows how chaotic the events can become. [Washington Post]

4. Two incumbent Democrats may be among Illinois’ biggest political matches in 2022

Freshman U.S. Rep. Marie Newman, of LaGrange, and second-term U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, of Downers Grove, are vowing to compete against one another for the same southwest and west suburban Chicago turf.

Both say they are friends with one another, but if they indeed run against each other, one won’t be heading back to Washington, D.C., next year.

But as WBEZ’s Dave McKinney reports: “There’s also a chance next year could be a Republican wave election across the country, increasing the chance that neither Casten nor Newman prevails. After all, Pritzker won the newly drawn 6th District by a relatively narrow 5 percentage points in 2018.” [WBEZ]

5. Will Kyle Rittenhouse testify?

It appears increasingly likely the teenager will take the stand after prosecutors rest their case today, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Rittenhouse faces several charges after he fatally shot two men and wounded another during a protest in Kenosha, Wis., in August 2020. Prosecutors have portrayed Rittenhouse as a “chaos tourist.”

The teen’s defense team argues Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, a claim that makes it essential for him to testify and explain his state of mind to jurors, legal experts told the Trib.

And pretrial rulings will make it easier for Rittenhouse during cross-examination from prosecutors. As the Trib points out: “Kenosha Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder already has barred prosecutors from showing two troubling videos taken in the weeks before the shooting. In one, Rittenhouse punches a girl who is fighting with his sister, while in the other he discusses wanting to shoot people he believes are shoplifting from a drugstore.” [Chicago Tribune]

Here’s what else is happening

  • At least 13 senior Trump administration officials illegally campaigned before last year’s election, according to a federal investigation. [Washington Post]
  • General Electric made the stunning announcement today that it will split into three public companies. [NPR]
  • A new study suggests people who face discrimination at an early age are more likely to develop behavioral and mental health problems. [NPR]
  • The popular Netflix series Squid Game is officially on for a second season. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

I can’t stop looking at photos of people reuniting with loved ones after the U.S. reopened yesterday to fully vaccinated international travelers from 33 countries.

NPR created a photo essay of touching moments at airports and border crossings, and it’s hard to keep a dry eye after seeing the joy from couples, friends and family members who finally get to see each other in person. [NPR]

Tell me something good ...

The holidays are quickly approaching, and I’m buying presents earlier this year. So I’d like to know: What are your favorite places to shop locally?

Megan tweets:

“If you want a great place to find holiday gifts, take a quick drive to https://indieindiebangbang.com in Miller Beach, IN. Bonus is that you can enjoy the Dunes for a day after shopping!”

And Vivian Haritos writes:

“I wanted to mention the Chicago Art Department (CAD) in East Pilsen. Aside from their kick-ass mission, they are holding an upcoming Holiday Market on Friday, Dec. 10 from 6-10 p.m. Artists and makers will be selling one-of-a-kind goodies that you can’t find anywhere else. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to shop local (and not on Amazon) this Christmas and year-round. I will definitely be there!”

Where do you like to shop? Feel free to email me at therundown@wbez.org or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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