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Police To Saturate South, West Side Districts In Fight To Reduce Crime

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Supt. Garry McCarthy

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is calling on neighbors to help fight crime in the Englewood and Harrison districts. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is calling on people who live in high-crime areas to help keep their streets safe.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel talked strategy Monday morning at the Englewood District police station, 1438 W. 63rd St., about how to reduce violent crimes in the Englewood District, as well as the West Side’s Harrison District.

The Englewood District includes the Englewood and West Englewood neighborhoods.

The Harrison District includes the East and West Garfield Park neighborhoods, as well as parts of Humboldt Park and North Lawndale. It is also poised to be combined with the Wood District, which includes Ukrainian Village and West Town just to the east.

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The two districts combined account for nearly 25 percent of the murders and shootings citywide last year, and nearly a third of violent crimes in the first two weeks of 2012.

The plan is to saturate the neighborhoods with uniformed police patrol officers, to beef up the Narcotics Division so they can investigate and eliminate violence-prone areas, and to allocate significant resources to gang enforcement.

No regular beat officers will be moved around, McCarthy said.

Police say they will target problematic licensed establishments and dismantle the most violent gangs in each district.

“The long story is we’re going to work night and day with additional resources in the 7th (Englewood) and 11th (Harrison) districts to accomplish our goal of reducing crime, but we cannot do it alone,” McCarthy said. “This is going to be a collaborative, community-based initiative where our enforcement efforts are supported by various community components. We are going to relentlessly pursue reducing violence in these two districts for the people who live here, because they’ve suffered too long.”

The city saw reductions in gun violence across the board last year, except in the Englewood and Harrison districts. The murder rate was down everywhere by the Englewood District.

“Twenty-five percent of all gun crimes and homicides occur – about 25 percent – in those two areas,” Mayor Emanuel said.

Local churches and community groups will be assisting the Police Department in its efforts. McCarthy said in addition, there will be new leadership.

“Cmdr. Leo Schmidt of the Gang Enforcement Division – one of our hardest-working and most talented executives – will be redeployed to the 7th District as the commanding officer,” McCarthy said.

Meanwhile, former Englewood District Cmdr. Anthony Carrothers is being shifted out to the staff at the Calumet Area detective headquarters.

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