Chicago police expanding use of tech tools to South, West sides

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 01:30PM
Chicago police expand a crime-fighting tool to help officers track down criminals.


CHICAGO - Chicago police are expanding the use of new crime-fighting technology to more of the city's neighborhoods, the department announced Tuesday.

The new technology tools will effect police districts on the South and West sides.

Officers showed off the new Strategic Decision Support Centers last week. It combines intelligence from the streets along with cameras and gunshot detection to help officers track down criminals. It is just the second such center in the country.

The center uses ShotSpotter technology, which detects gunshots and sends the location to officers on a smartphone.

The technology has been in use in the Englewood (7) and Harrison (11) police districts in recent weeks. It will now be used in the Deering (9) and Austin (15) police districts with each district getting its own Strategic Decision Support Center and an expansion of pod cameras, police said.

Police are targeting the South and West sides, the areas that have seen the most crime.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the Englewood district went eight straight days without a shooting in February, the longest stretch in the district in three years. Johnson also said the 15th district has seen a reduction in shooting.

"By basing our policing strategy on more proactive and predictive deployments, we can focus on the sources of our violent crime and ultimately make Chicago safer," said Superintendent Johnson. "The expansion of this technology into the 9th and 15th districts will allow us to make strategic deployment decisions and respond to incidents sooner, helping us reduce crime in our most challenging districts."

Johnson said now officers are arriving at the scene of shootings fast enough to still see gun smoke.

In Englewood Monday morning, a 24-year-old man was shot and killed steps away from a police camera helping police detect gunshots. One neighbor said it is working.

"They get here quicker, they're responding quicker," he said.

Neighbors hope it will be the answer to years of crime getting more and more out of control.

"I believe they should patrol the neighborhood better because once they be in a neighborhood, they leave and they're gone all of them. I don't know if there's enough of them or not," said Derrick Austin.
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