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Two Overlooked Factors to Reduce Chicago Crime

The head­line read, “Chicago Crime Skyrockets in 2016.” There were 2,400 shoot­ings in Chicago in 2015. That num­ber rose in 2016 to 3,525! An in­crease of over 1,100. The shoot­ings re­sult­ed in 762 homi­cides. This is more crime than New York and Los Angeles com­bined!

Police of­fi­cials are try­ing to solve the out-​of-​control cri­sis by adding more po­lice and tak­ing away more guns. These steps are fu­tile be­cause the re­spect for po­lice has erod­ed and po­lice feel that their “hands have been tied.” Also, Chicago is al­ready the most “gun free” city in America.

The on­ly an­swer is to se­ri­ous­ly con­sid­er and im­ple­ment two over­looked fac­tors:

1. Transforming the Thoughts of the Heart

Researchers have con­firmed the wis­dom of Scripture. Our heart func­tions by neu­ro­trans­mit­ters that send mes­sages to oth­er parts of the body. If these mes­sages are mo­ti­vat­ed by anger, ag­gres­sion, anx­i­ety ad­dic­tions, de­pres­sions or thoughts of sui­cide, these mo­ti­va­tions will over­pow­er the mind, will and emo­tions of a per­son.

Wrong be­hav­ior will nev­er change un­til wrong thoughts of the heart are trans­formed. Jesus made this very clear. “For from with­in, out of the heart of men, pro­ceed evil thoughts, adul­ter­ies, for­ni­ca­tions, mur­ders, thefts, cov­etous­ness, wicked­ness, de­ceit, lewd­ness, an evil eye, blas­phe­my, pride, fool­ish­ness. All these evil things come from with­in and de­file a man” (Mark 7:21 – 23).

Up un­til the 1960’s America had a Biblically-​based cul­ture. The Bible was read in most pub­lic schools. Then in 1963 the Bible and prayer were re­moved from American pub­lic schools. The sex­u­al rev­o­lu­tion of the late 1960’s filled the void and crime be­gan to es­ca­late.

There is no way to have a crime-​free so­ci­ety with­out a rev­er­ence for God. He has em­bed­ded His moral law in the heart of every per­son; and He has al­so del­e­gat­ed au­thor­i­ty to gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials “for the pun­ish­ment of evil­do­ers and for the praise of those who do good” (I Peter 2:14). Notice the two-​fold re­spon­si­bil­i­ty of law of­fi­cers: they are not just to pun­ish evil­do­ers, but to praise those who do what is right. All peo­ple long for praise; in fact, they are con­trolled by those who praise them.

There is on­ly one way to trans­form the evil thoughts of our heart. It is the same so­lu­tion for the sec­ond over­looked fac­tor.

2. Increase Serotonin Levels

If we are se­ri­ous about re­duc­ing crime, we must “con­nect the dots” be­tween crime and low sero­tonin lev­els. Serotonin is a vi­tal neu­ro­trans­mit­ter. It is al­so called the “hap­py hor­mone” be­cause of its ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects on health, mood and be­hav­ior.

Researchers point out that low or im­bal­anced sero­tonin lev­els re­sult in anger, anx­i­ety, ad­dic­tions, de­pres­sion and thoughts of sui­cide. The whole pur­pose of an­ti­de­pres­sants is to keep sero­tonin in the brain. An an­ti­de­pres­sant is called a “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor” (SSRI). The first prob­lem with this phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ap­proach is that on­ly 5% of our sero­tonin is pro­duced in the brain while 95% is pro­duced in our “gut brain,” which God (in the Old Testament Scriptures) calls our “reins.”

The sec­ond (and more ma­jor) prob­lem with an­ti­de­pres­sants is that they have very dam­ag­ing side-​effects in­clud­ing de­pres­sion, ag­gres­sion and sui­ci­dal thoughts. It is ex­treme­ly sig­nif­i­cant that 35 of the killers in mass school shoot­ings in re­cent years were all on, or were with­draw­ing from, an­ti­de­pres­sants. A men­tal health re­search group gave the fol­low­ing re­port:

“There is over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence that psy­chi­atric drugs cause vi­o­lence. 27 in­ter­na­tion­al drug reg­u­la­to­ry warn­ings cite vi­o­lence, ma­nia, hos­til­i­ty, ag­gres­sion, psy­chosis and homi­ci­dal ideation. Individuals un­der the in­flu­ence of such drugs and com­mit­ting these acts of sense­less vi­o­lence are not lim­it­ed to us­ing guns and are not lim­it­ed to just schools.” [CCHR International 2012]

Despite all these warn­ings, the use of an­ti­de­pres­sants is sky­rock­et­ing in the United States, ac­cord­ing to da­ta pro­vid­ed by IMS Health. The to­tal num­ber of peo­ple tak­ing psy­chi­atric drugs in the U.S. was 63,589,802 in 2002 and in 2013 it in­creased to 78,694,222!

How to Increase Serotonin

Before dis­cussing “how” to in­crease sero­tonin, we need to un­der­stand “what” de­pletes it in our body. Dopamine and adren­a­line are two pow­er­ful hor­mones that block sero­tonin re­cep­tors.

Dopamine is the “plea­sure hor­mone” and adren­a­line is the “fight or flight” hor­mone (ac­ti­vat­ed by fear). When we un­der­stand the de­struc­tive re­sults of mis­us­ing dopamine, we re­al­ize why Jesus gave such a se­vere warn­ing against lust in our heart (Matthew 5:27-30).

On the mat­ter of overus­ing adren­a­line, every per­son is born with four pri­ma­ry fears: the fear of re­jec­tion, the fear of fail­ure, the fear of pover­ty, and the fear of sick­ness and/​or death. These fears must be re­solved in or­der to raise sero­tonin lev­els.

The pri­ma­ry way to in­crease sero­tonin is with the en­er­gy of “in­ner light.” Researchers who are aware of this “find” are us­ing “bright light ther­a­py” in­stead of drugs to deal with de­pres­sion. The lights must be at least 10,000 lux at a dis­tance of 12 to 48 inch­es away from the pa­tient. The God who cre­at­ed us was very aware of our need for in­ner light. The first thing He did was to cre­ate light. This was on the first day of cre­ation. He didn’t cre­ate the sun, moon and stars un­til the fourth day of cre­ation.

God cre­at­ed light with the pow­er of His Word. “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). God’s Word is just as pow­er­ful to­day as it was in the be­gin­ning of cre­ation. When we in­ter­nal­ize it in our heart, mind and “gut brain,” we ex­pe­ri­ence God’s pow­er and in­ner light. David de­clared, “The en­trance of Your words gives light” (Psalm 119:130). “For the word of God is liv­ing and pow­er­ful . . . and is a dis­cern­er of the thoughts and in­tents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The on­ly way to trans­form our thoughts and raise our sero­tonin lev­els is to find a verse of Scripture every morn­ing, record it dai­ly in a jour­nal, mem­o­rize it and put our­selves to sleep by quot­ing it to God.

Light al­ways con­quers dark­ness. The av­er­age per­son has fifty to eighty thou­sand thoughts every day. Many of these thoughts come from dark­ness. Therefore, a dai­ly in­fu­sion of light is es­sen­tial. Thus, Jesus de­clares: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that pro­ceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).