Alderman wants answers from Weis

July 2, 2008 3:06:12 PM PDT
Following a series of shootings in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood recently, Chicago Alderman Ike Carothers is looking for answers from Police Superintendent Jody Weis about a plan to end the violence. Many residents in the neighborhood are scared. Alderman Carothers wants Superintendent Weis to appear before the City Council's police and fire committee.

Attention on recent violence seems to have gotten everyone's attention except those perpetrating the crimes. What can be done to make a difference and whose responsibility is it?

Tuesday night's situation at 78th and Constance appears to have led to four people shot at different locations. Overnight, Alderman Ike Carothers says two teens were shot in his ward.

"We're up in every category, fatalities, shootings, violence, they're all up," said Ald. Isaac Carothers, 29th Ward.

Alderman Carothers chairs the city's police and fire committee. He thinks the Chicago police superintendent should do more and wants the superintendent to come before the committee.

"He's the chief law enforcement officer of the city and should tell us something. He is the lead of chain in the police department. He needs to examine whether what he made are the best steps," said Ald. Carothers.

Superintendent Jodi Weis took over this year. In his tenure, he's made some drastic personnel changes including clearing out more than 20 police commanders.

In recent months fatal shootings continue to make headlines: On Monday three people were killed at 78th and Kingston. Last week a police officer was shot when someone tried to rob him on the way home.

"Everybody is looking at law enforcement to fix the violence problem, which it will never do, instead of looking at public health to help people manage their relationships, to resolve conflicts," said Dr. Carl Bell, Community Mental Health Council.

Psychiatrist Carl Bell is the president and CEO of Community Mental Health Council and has done extensive research on violence prevention. He says elected officials have a responsibility to create safer neighborhoods that would reduce violence as well as other societal problems.

"Somebody in the City of Chicago needs to organize every city block into a block club, because neighbors in their social fabric, there are certain things people don't tolerate or let people do," said Dr. Bell.

Chicago's murder rate is up 13 percent since last year. Police say there may be evidence of more guns on the street as there are more calls to police about "a person with a gun" and "shots fired."

The Chicago police spokeswoman says the superintendent will go before the police and fire committee, but currently, the superintendent is focused on the grieving family of Officer Richard Francis who was killed early Wednesday morning.


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