Chicago earned a reputation as “
America’s murder capital” last year after warring gang factions fuelled a particularly bloody summer. But the number of homicides this year has dropped to a level not seen since the 1960s.Homicides in the Windy City since January are down 34% since the same period last year, The New York Times reports.
While the drop in homicides in 2013 could be due to the bad weather that kept people indoors, Chicago’s police force is doing something right.
The main thing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems to be doing to crack down on these warring gangsters is putting more cops on the street. Emanuel doubled the number of officers working overtime every day to 400. In March, he transferred 200 cops from their desk jobs to “saturate” areas with high levels of gang activity.
The city is also using data analysis to get ahead of violence. From the Times:
The police say they are tamping down retaliatory shootings between gang factions by using a comprehensive analysis of the city’s tens of thousands of suspected gang members, the turf they claim and their rivalries. The police also are focusing on more than 400 people they have identified as having associations that make them the most likely to be involved in a murder, as a victim or an offender.
These tactics seem to be working, though the warm weather this summer and the extra free time young people have will pose new challenges.
Roseanna Ander, executive director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, told NBC Chicago that it’s too soon to “say anything definitive” about murder trends in Chicago this year. “It’s certainly encouraging that we’re seeing numbers decrease,” she said, “and I think a lot of the strategies that the police department are employing do seem like the right things to do.”
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