CPD announces summer crime crackdown

June 24, 2008 3:46:16 PM PDT
Chicago's top brass has announced new strategies to fight violent crime in the city this summer. It follows a recent series of deadly shootings, most targeting the city's young people.

The department's new initiative was outlined Tuesday by Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis.

The new effort comes as police officers are under fire for using deadly force.

More officers on the street, a more forceful presence and more intelligence sharing - that's the three-pronged approach meant to keep a lid on summer violence in the city.

People have called police to report hearing shots fired this month 4,455 times.

"Our job is to go in and suppress violent crime, and gang activity and hopefully bring down the number of shootings and homicides in a highly visible and compact area," said Sgt. Bill Schield, CPD Targeted Response Unit.

Schield and his Targeted Response Unit will hopscotch the city this summer. Their team attacks neighborhoods with a spike in gun and gang crime.

"The thing that makes us successful is, we are allowed latitude to use every single law on the books," said Schield.

The team uses anything from a curfew violation to an outstanding warrant to take career criminals and known gang members off the street. The theory being: With fewer trouble makers, there will be fewer crimes.

"If we know where the problem is and we know who the problem is, we need to be out in front of it," said Weis.

Weis also plans to flood neighborhoods this summer with an extra 70 to 80 officers who normally work desk jobs at headquarters. Cops on bikes will work every neighborhood in the city.

The police helicopter will look for curfew violators and drug dealing in city parks and along the lakefront. Plus, more officers will be in military-style clothing.

The superintendent is also delivering the warning that police officers may be forced to shoot anyone who points a gun in their direction.

"My first priority is no innocent people are killed, and my second priority is no police officers are hilled. And thirdly, we hope offenders won't be injured, but sometimes they take actions that we have to respond to," said Weis.

"For people who are good people, law-abiding citizens, you have nothing to fear from guys in black uniforms. We're there for your protection," said Schield.

You can expect this pumped up police presence on the streets for the next ten weeks. The murder rate in Chicago has been on the decline for several years now. Police certainly don't want to lose any of the ground they've gained.


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