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Chicago Police Supt. Promises To Curb Gang Violence

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Police Supt. Garry McCarthy

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 03/20/12 – 7 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s police superintendent says the city is re-tooling its anti-gang strategy, following a particularly violent weekend during which several people, including a 6-year-old girl, were killed.

Garry McCarthy says the intelligence is there. It’s just a matter of getting the information to beat officers so they can anticipate a retaliatory gang shooting.

“We’re going to get our head around this thing and we’re going to turn it around is what it boils down to,” McCarthy told reporters on Monday. “If we were sitting here saying we don’t know what’s going on, we don’t know what to do, that would be a different situation. We know what’s going on. We’re putting pieces in place to make sure we can stem this tide.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

So far this year, there have been 94 murders in Chicago. There were 66 in the same period last year. There have been 408 shootings so far this year, compared to 296 in the same period in 2011.

McCarthy dismisses the theory that warm weather naturally brings more crime.

“I’m accountable,” he said, “and I’m not going to point to weather.”

The superintendent also spoke to CBS 2 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday about the recent spate of violence.

He said several factors are at play, including the department’s inability to prevent one gang from retaliating against another after a gang-related shooting.

McCarthy said retaliatory shootings sometimes occur as soon as five to ten minutes after the first act of violence.

The Fraternal Order of Police union, meanwhile, says the Chicago Police Department is in a manpower crisis.

“Their strategy is a total failure,” FOP spokesman Pat Camden tells WBBM Newsradio Lisa Fielding.

Camden says the department loses 50 officers a month to attrition, leaving police short-handed on the street.

“I don’t think they’ve hired 600 officers in the past five years,” he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement Monday hitting at tougher strategies ahead.

“The violence this past weekend is unacceptable to me and every law abiding Chicago resident,” the mayor said. “Our streets belong to the families and children of our city; not to the gangs and gangbangers.  The violence this weekend underscores that Chicago has a unique gang problem and I have discussed with Superintendent McCarthy a citywide anti-gang strategy similar to the successful strategy CPD recently used with the Maniac Latin Disciples.”

McCarthy last year declared war on the Maniac Latin Disciples after a reputed member shot into a Northwest Side park and injured two young girls. A shooting suspect was arrested and charged in that case.

The police superintendent said much of the violence that occurred over the weekend was gang-related.

“Our gang issue is as strong, if not stronger, than L.A., which is recognized as the biggest in the country,” McCarthy said.

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