As we made mention last week, when temperatures rise, so too does crime in many Chicago neighborhoods. To combat violence in high-crime areas, the Chicago Police Department announced that it will add extra police patrols and overtime hours.
“The summer months is our busy season,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in an interview with the Associated Press. “And we have to ramp up our response to violence in the city.”
McCarthy noted that added patrols will be part of the “Summer Surge” initiative designed to reduce the number of homicides in the city. Chicago had more than 500 homicides before the added patrols were instituted last year. Although Chicago still led the nation in homicides in 2013, the number dropped to 415.
Last year’s program resulted in over $100 million in overtime pay to officers added to the dangerous patrols, and the city hopes to cut back on that number in 2014. $70 million is budgeted for overtime pay this summer, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel “has made it very clear if we need more overtime for initiatives, he will find a way to fund it,” said McCarthy.
The Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Housing Authority will help finance the overtime pay. The added patrols can’t start soon enough, as at least 30 people have been shot and 16 have been killed on three consecutive weekends.
In addition to the added patrols, police will be partaking in what they call “custom notifications” to reach out to high-risk members of the community. Officers will knock on the doors of known gang members and their family members to let them know that there will be more eyes on their activities, and that the violence has to stop.
Criminal Defense attorney Brett Appelman commended the city for taking a harsher stance against crime.
“Police officers sometimes get a bad rap, but patrolling high-crime areas and going door-to-door is no safe task,” said Appelman. “I hope that by the end of 2014 we once again see a reduction in homicides and other violent acts.
Related source: Lubbock Online