CPD to target drug-dealing in 'wrap-around' crime strategy

May 15, 2012 2:55:24 PM PDT
Facing criticism for a 52-percent jump in homicides this year, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans for a new crime-fighting strategy in the city.

The Emanuel administration press releases call it a "wrap-around" strategy aimed at drug-dealing gangs that the mayor and police superintendent say are driving the city's rising gun violence and homicide rates.

"We're concentrating on squeezing out the life's blood--the narcotics trade--which the gangs use to hold our communities hostage," Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said.

Having Superintendent McCarthy's cops arrest gang drug dealers one neighborhood at a time is only part one of the Emanuel administration's strategy to reduce violence. As police take back a block, they plan to maintain a presence there as other city departments move in to address the area's other social and physical problems.

" While you have had a surge in policing, it is the surge in social services that has come right behind it," Mayor Emanuel said.

"You can't arrest your way out of this. You have to provide services," Bishop Edward Peecher, Chicago Embassy Church, said.

Bishop Peecher says he can see the difference in an Englewood block where police arrested 13 drug dealers last week.

"When you get the bad people out you've got to put good people in," Peecher said.

Just one block away from where Emanuel spoke in the Roseland neighborhood, dozens of people stood outside a food bank.

"It's hard to get a job now, even at a McDonald's. It's hard to get a job," Paul Brock said.

Antonio Keenan said what the mayor and police superintendent don't understand is that unemployment is at the root of the gang problem.

"It's like when young brothers like me can't get a job they look for other ways out like going to gangs looking for leadership and trying to get money the best way they can-- robbing people, stealing, killing," Keenan said.

The mayor's wraparound strategy includes hiring some young people to help clear vacant lots in affected neighborhoods. Other than that, Emanuel had no short term plan to create jobs in gang-infested areas.

Also Tuesday, the mayor criticized Chicago's community policing or caps program under the previous city hall regime.

"I'm making sure that when it comes to not just policing but the community part of this aspect of community policing is fully engaged. And in hasn't been to date," Mayor Emanuel said.

The mayor--who campaigned on a promise of safer streets--said the rising homicide rate and increasing gun violence in many neighborhoods make him most "angry and frustrated."

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