Weis outlines plan to stop summer violence

June 23, 2009 3:23:14 PM PDT
Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis outlined Tuesday additional plans to stop the violence on the city's streets this summer. The new strategies include putting more uniformed officers out in the city's neighborhoods. Weis says the city's curfew will also be enforced this summer.

The new strategies are all in an effort to curb violent crime during a time when it tends to rise-- in the summer when school is out.

VIDEO: Watch Supt. Weis's complete news conference.
RESOURCES: More ABC7's 'Stop the Violence' coverage

Superintendent Weis kept pointing to one statistic, that overall crime is down by 8 percent over this time last year. But this summer is only two days old and there is already a huge spike in violence. He says new measures will make a difference.

Temperatures are up. School is out and violence was soaring this past weekend in Chicago. Stroger Hospital's trauma unit took in 30 cases each weekend night, of shootings and stabbings, compared to a normal 10. Solving these cases can be difficult, says Weis. He says a dozen of the victims refused to talk to police.

"That should be the best piece of evidence we have. When you refuse to cooperate it's quite challenging for us," Weis said.

Throw in the high unemployment rate and it's a recipe for a long, hot, violent summer. Eight-hundred officers who normally wear plainclothes will be in uniform this summer. Weis hopes the extra visibility will be a deterrent.

"Maybe it had make them think, 'Well, today is not a good day to drive-by and go shoot someone.' We have to strike fear in the hearts of these people who run around in a brazen manner shooting people on streets of Chicago," said Weis.

Weis said CPD also plans to adjust hours of tactical teams so they are out during the most violent times, 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. And the department will operate a curfew car to get juveniles off the street at night.

There will be extra officers patrolling the streets. One-hundred-fifty were permanently reassigned from desk jobs to patrol, 50 were funded by the Back on the Beat program, and July 1 another 100 officers will be added, paid for by federal stimulus grant money.

With the Taste of Chicago about to again, Weis is promising to do all he can to avoid a repeat of last year's deadly shooting at the fireworks events.

"We'll continue to work hard to make sure it's safe," Weis said.

Weis wouldn't go into specifically how the police response for this year's Taste of Chicago will be any different than last year. He says there will be another news conference sometime later this week to talk about that, but he certainly took a lot of heat for the police response after last year's Taste of Chicago.


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