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Mayor Wants To Expand Anti-Gang Strategy From Neighborhoods Where It Worked

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(Credit: Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

(Credit: Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday the Police Department is prepared to expand its anti-gang strategies, after early efforts in two neighborhoods have shown dramatic results.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor noted the latest figures show homicides in the Englewood District on the South Side are down 43 percent over the past six months, since a new plan to target gangs and drug dealers in the area went into place.

In the Harrison District on the West Side, where the same strategy has been used, there’s been a 24 percent drop in the past half year.

“We took the six-month review of those two districts, the different strategy, which is where [the Drug Enforcement Administration] is working with us,” Emanuel said. “We’re actually going to now start to apply it to certain other parts of the city, with exactly the type of strategies where we have seen, actually, not just statistics – dramatic reduction in the homicides, as well as the crime.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Some aldermen have said they want to go back to the use of specialized police units – like the Mobile Strike Force and the Targeted Response Unit – to give police the flexibility to target crime hot spots, rather than focusing on larger numbers of beat officers.

But the mayor said the strategy used in the Harrison and Englewood districts has proved successful, so it should be expanded to other parts of the city.

Emanuel has not specified which police districts he wants to target next for the anti-gang strategy, but said he has talked with top police brass about where to go next.

“We met yesterday and said, ‘Okay, where are we taking those? Where are we going next?’” Emanuel said. “Because it’s six months now, it’s review time. Those two districts last year represented 25 percent of our violent crime. Today, they’re – unlike some other areas – showing dramatic, not statistical, dramatic reduction.”

That strategy has been to saturate the districts with additional gang and drug cops, in an effort to put gangs and drug dealers out of business, and keep them out with the help of the local community.

The mayor acknowledged other parts of the city have seen a spike in homicides, which is why he wants to expand the anti-gang strategy to other districts.

The DEA has helped in the Harrison and Englewood districts by providing three teams of 40 agents to work with Chicago police on anti-drug initiatives. Meantime, the FBI helped investigate shootings, the U.S. Marshal Service helped round up fugitives, and the IRS targeted the assets of local drug dealers.

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