CPD to showcase violence-reduction strategies at crime-fighting conference

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Law enforcement agencies from across the country are in town for the 2019 Chicago Police Department Crimefighters Conference, where the CPD will share strategies they have used to help reduce violence in the city.

Every day, Chicago police face different challenges. Officers put their lives on the line to protect our community, prepared to take on whatever comes their way. CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said those challenges were at their peak in 2016.

"Crime was out of control and we ended up that year with roughly 787 homicides," Johnson said.

But things are changing. The CPD is now the most technologically-advanced police department in the country.

"In two short years we completely flipped that narrative," Johnson said.

Each CPD officer is armed with new technology that can help locate criminals and predict crimes before they happen. The investment in high-tech tools has led to a drop in crime.

From 2016 to 2018, the CPD officials said there was a 10 percent decrease in overall crime: fewer murders, shootings, robberies, burglaries and thefts. Police said in 2018, there was an 8 percent decrease in crime compared to 2017.

Shootings were down 32 percent from 2016 to 2018, the CPD said. Shootings decreased by 14 percent from 2017 to 2018. Last year, there were 100 fewer murders - a 15 percent drop - compared to the year before.

"The investment in personnel is working. The investment in technologies that the mayor and the City Council were so gracious enough to provide for us, that's working," Johnson said.

The new tools are just one bog benefit of the CPD's strong partnership with the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

Investigators work closely with the crime experts to help locate criminals quickly, using hundreds of high-definition cameras and a gunshot detection system that can locate a shooter in minutes.

"It gives us a 5-7 minute head start on when shots are fired, compared to 911," Johnson said.

Law enforcement agencies from across the world took notice. More than 200 police officers from Ireland, London, New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Memphis, St. Louis and Milwaukee traveled to Chicago to take part in this week's crime-fighting summit, hosted by the CPD, UChicago's crime lab and the Chicago Police Foundation.

The mission of the conference is to share information police across the country can use to help keep people safe.

"You have to be open-minded enough to go around and see what's working all across the country," Johnson said.

He said members of the CPD are proud to say they are now a model for crime-fighting.

"I just knew we had to do something to stop the violence in this city, because we are better than that. I think we are proving that now," Johnson said.
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