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Federal Agents To Assist Police In Fighting Crime On South, West Side

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Police-Federal Cooperation

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces plans for federal cooperation with fighting crime in the Harrison and Englewood police districts. (Credit: Craig Dellimore/WBBM Newsradio/CBS)

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UPDATED 02/10/12 1:44 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Friday announced partnerships with federal law enforcement to reduce violent crime in police districts on the South and West sides.

Police in the Englewood and Harrison districts will partner with the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to conduct joint investigations, share information, and stiffen penalties related to federal prosecutions.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“We’re putting partnerships, practices, and resources in place to make our communities stronger and more secure,” Mayor Emanuel said in a news release. “These partnerships with federal law enforcement agencies are another tool we will utilize to fight crime and reduce violence in our city.”

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.

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.

Under the new partnership, the U.S. Attorney’s office will partner with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to review all gun cases in the two districts and identify which ones warrant federal prosecution.

The FBI will assist Chicago Police detectives in investigating shootings the districts, and the DEA has dedicated three teams to work alongside Chicago Police Gang Intelligence and Narcotics to help take down drug markets.

The U.S. Marshals Service will go after fugitives, the ATF will assist in shutting down the illegal gun trade in the districts, and the Internal Revenue Service will go after targets in the two districts for proof of their source of questionable income, the city said.

“Violence in our communities transcends neighborhood boundaries and must be confronted with every available resource,” McCarthy said in the release. “Alliances with our federal law enforcement partners will extend the reach of our crime-fighting plan and reinforce comprehensive efforts to realize and sustain results in violence reduction.”

Last month, Mayor Emanuel announced plans to saturate the Englewood and Harrison districts 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.

McCarthy said the targeted enforcement program seems to have led to a drop in violent crime in the district, but it is too early to draw conclusions.

“These become benchmarks – you know, a day without shootings, 56 hours without a shooting like we did a couple of days ago, a week without a murder in this city – these are benchmarks that we build upon our successes,” he said. “That is not declaring victory.”

Police said they planned to target problematic licensed establishments and dismantle the most violent gangs in each district. Local churches and community groups are assisting the Police Department in its efforts.

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