CHICAGO (CBS) — In a weekend marred by a rash of shootings that left at least eight people dead and 40 wounded – as well as three violent mob attacks on innocent people in and around downtown, police Supt. Garry McCarthy emphasizes that the problem of violence in Chicago is “not going to be solved overnight.”
But he emphasized that overall, crime is dropping in Chicago this quarter compared with the same time last year.
“None of this is OK – let me just start by saying that – but we have strategies in place that are, in fact, working,” McCarthy said on the CBS 2 Morning News Monday. “Believe it or not, shootings are down about 8 percent in the second quarter. So, you know, this didn’t get this way overnight, and it’s not going to be solved overnight. The fact is, are we doing better than we were before? And believe it or not, we actually are. But having said that, none of this is OK.”
The shootings this week happened largely on the city’s South Side. Those killed included Joseph Briggs, 16, who was shot while sitting on his front porch in the 6100 block of South Rockwell Street, and two men – Shondell Adams, 21, and Jonathan Duncan, 22 – who lost their lives in a shooting at a party in the 700 block of West 50th Place that also wounded three others.
Meanwhile, two of the mob attacks happened Saturday night, and a third one Sunday night. Two men – one of them a tourist from Michigan – were attacked by a teen mob in the 500 block of North State Street on Saturday night, and police quickly apprehended an 18-year-old man and seven others ages 13 to 16.
The second attack happened about half an hour later near State and Lake streets, when a mob attacked a couple and left a man needing hospital care. The third incident happened Sunday night, when a mob attacked a man who was walking home at Pearson Street and Dewitt Place.
McCarthy said it is important to separate gang violence in city neighborhoods from mob attacks downtown.
“We have to separate the two,” McCarthy said. “We’re talking about gang violence in the neighborhoods – that’s been going on for 40, 50, 60 years. Somebody getting mugged downtown on their way back from work – a whole separate issue, and we have to manage those differently. We have deployments that we have to make sure are accurate. We have to make sure the cops are where they’re supposed to be, and preventing those incidents from happening. We did it last year. We’ll get it done again.”
Mob violence terrified many Chicagoans last summer, when a rash of incidents hit the headlines just as festival season was getting started around this time last year. Groups of teen mobs brutally attacked innocent passersby in Streeterville and at Chicago and Wabash avenues, and even the developmentally disabled brother of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan was attacked by a violent mob while riding the Red Line subway.
McCarthy emphasized that police have a strategy for dealing with mob attacks.
“We break them up. There are things that we can do. We use the broken windows theory, which is taking care of the little things prevents the big things. And again, I want to differentiate the gunfire that’s been happening – the gang-related violence – from anything that’s happening downtown as far as robberies go,” he said.
McCarthy also pointed out that these were the first reported mob attacks this year.
“I have to go back and make sure that our cops are where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing,” he said. “We break up those mobs – there’s something called mob action when kids are running in and out of crowds and causing a disruption – that we used to prevent that from going to that level, to a robbery.”
In the effort to fight crime, McCarthy said, Chicago Police are capitalizing on some of the strategies he himself used as police director in Newark. Meanwhile, McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel late last month announced plans to stop gang shootings before they start.
Armed with new computer-generated analytics, police will now target gang members they believe could be prime suspects in any planned retaliation for earlier gang shootings. Under the system, police would move to seize weapons–and make arrests–before rival gang members can target their rivals.
McCarthy said the comprehensive strategy is intended to attack violence on multiple fronts, and that the goal is to have zero homicides.
But, he said, “It takes some time. It’s a process.”