Police Supt. Jody Weis marches for peace

July 12, 2008 4:29:45 PM PDT
Chicago police Supt. Jody Weis led an anti-violence march Saturday and releases new crime statistics.Weis is facing criticism from some Chicago alderman over an increase in some violent crimes, including murder, and his communication style.

According to statistics released by police, the number of murders in Chicago was down slightly in June, compared to May, but the murder rate is running roughly 13 percent higher than this time one year ago.

At Saturday's rally, Weis was "answering his critics," defending his performance and again calling on the community to unite to stop the violence in Chicago's streets.

The city's top police official walked in an anti-violence march in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. The mood was festive during the march, but police Superintendent Weis can't do much celebrating these days. He is under siege by Chicago aldermen anxious for answers about violent crime in the city.

"Oftentimes, there's misinformation and confusion because of a lack of communication. This will be a good opportunity to clarify any confusion that might be out there," Weis said.

Statistics indicate that murders had increased 12.8 percent compared to this same time last year. Sexual assaults have decreased 13.6 percent, while robberies were up 7.9 percent.

Weis says he knows he needs to turn the murder rate around and is calling on residents to help him and his officers do it.

"Keeping streets safe, keeping crime down, it is not just a law enforcement function. It is a function of the of the community," he said.

For Weis to keep his job safe, he knows he has to a better job of politicking with the city's aldermen. He is holding open the possibility of realigning the city's police beats, which is controversial because some safer neighborhoods could lose officers to higher crime communities.

Weis is also considering bringing back a form of the scandal-scarred Special Operations Section to add versatility and power to the police presence in gang-infested neighborhoods.

How will the police superintendent know\n when he's no longer on the hot seat?

"I think if crime is down, morale is up, the community trusts the police and is willing to work with us, that's when I'll know we've made it," Weis said.

Weis said he is looking forward to answering aldermen's questions at a city council hearing Tuesday.


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