Chicago Homicides Have Fallen With New Police Tactics

Police have focused in on gang activity. 

Posted: 06/11/2013 10:34 AM EDT

After Chicago had its deadliest January since 2002 with a recorded 42 homicides, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy reassigned 200 desk officers to the streets of Chicago, where they would focus on areas with high incidents of gang violence and gun crimes.

Since adding more police presence, the homicide rate in Chicago has fallen to its lowest since 1960. Rates are down 34 percent in 2013, compared to the same time last year.

Besides focusing on areas with heavy gang activity, they have also identified 400 people who are most likely to be involved in "a murder, as a victim or an offender," according to the New York Times

“It’s good, but not good enough,” Mr. Emanuel said in an interview of the city’s improving homicide statistics. He added that a parent had approached him in one of the neighborhoods now saturated with police officers, saying she had started to feel comfortable allowing her child to walk to school. “That to me is the biggest, most important, most significant measure — that a mother feels comfortable and confident enough where she didn’t in past years to have her child walk to school.”

Critics question whether the city can continue to pay for the added police presence. By the end of April, $31.9 million of the $38 million set aside in the city budget for police overtime for the year had been spent, city records show.

Leaders of the police union, who describe some of the current efforts as “smoke and mirrors,” caution that the dismal statistics of 2012 are being used to paint a falsely upbeat picture of 2013, and say they doubt such intense policing efforts are financially sustainable in any major city without expanding the force.

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 (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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