CPD hosts conference on smart policing after 15-percent drop in Chicago murders

ByMegan Hickey via WLS logo
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Top cops from across the country want to know how Chicago managed to reduce the murder rate in 2017.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Top cops from across the country want to know how Chicago managed to reduce the murder rate in 2017.

They got a behind-the-scenes look at the Chicago Police Department's strategies, which include the use of new, smart-policing technology, community policing, violence intervention and collaborating with prosecutors.

"These cops know they can win this thing now. All they want to do it win," Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Sean Malinowski said.

Chicago had 900 fewer shooting victims and 15 percent fewer murders in 2017.

More than a dozen police department representatives - including Miami, Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans and Little Rock - attended the first day of the 2018 National Crime-Fighters Conference on Wednesday, to learn what went right for the CPD.

"That progress was made, basically, due to technology, the hard work of the police officers out there and the hard work of the community members clergy and business owners that partnered with us last year to help reduce the violence," CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said.

WATCH: CPD Supt. Johnson opens 2018 National Crime-Fighters Conference

Predictive technology was the focus of Wednesday morning's presentation at the University of Chicago Crime Lab. That's what brought Nashville Deputy Police Chief Todd Henry to the city, all the way from Tennessee.

"What we can basically steal and take home to make Nashville a safer city," Henry said. "If Chicago's doing that, I think that's just a best practice that we can take home and learn."

The CPD is using technology through decentralized command centers, known as strategic nerve centers, across historically violent districts. On average, districts with the nerve centers saw a 25 percent drop in shootings in 2017.

"Technology and prediction capabilities that in other departments, if they exist at all, are generally in a centralized place," CPD Chief of Technical Services Jonathan Lewin said.

Chicago police said those nerve centers drove huge reductions in the Englewood and Harrison police districts. But the superintendent also put the drop into perspective.

"We're not spiking the ball by any means, but it is a better narrative for our city," Johnson said.

The two-day conference will include interactive demonstrations that show how the technology is being used in Chicago.