CHICAGO (CBS — Chicago Police are expanding their so-called Operation Impact.

That’s the saturation of high crime areas with foot patrols made up of new recruits.

CBS 2 chief correspondent Jay Levine reports it is because it appears to be working far better and far quicker than anyone expected.

“Murders down by almost 70 percent, shootings are down by half, overall crime is down by almost 30 percent,” said McCarthy.

He was speaking to the largest class of new recruits in 8 years. Officers who will all end up on foot patrol in those impact zones, the 20 highest crime neighborhoods in city.

“Starting next week, we’ll have five impact zones that will have foot patrol. We have two today starting next week we’ll have three more zones added helping bring the level of safety and security that every resident regardless of where they live, regardless of their zip code deserves in the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Like Washington Park, where it was safe enough to play dominos outside today today.

It was the first neighborhood to experience the special rookie foot patrols and the people who live here, seem pleased.

“If I have to go out to the store around about six or seven, they’re there so I know I’m alright. I don’t have to watch my back,” said Washington Park resident Martha Moore.

“I feel more safer. I do. But they don’t be there all day long. It is a short period of time and when they leave the problems occur again,” said Patrick Newburn, a Washington Park Resident.

The rookies are backed up by veterans in vehicles, also specially assigned to help restore order in an area that’s been dominated by gangs.

Asked if the work, Lenett Wilson said,”I’m waiting to see. I mean it’s still fairly new in my opinion

So is Supt McCarthy.

“Progress not victory and we still have a long way to go,” said McCarthy.

As for today’s Its also new to the recruits, whose first taste of policing will be in the city’s toughest neighborhoods.

“Actually I’m kind of stoked to be out there,” said Deno Lemon, a Chicago Police officer.

“A little apprehensive but excited at the same time. I just want to get into it,” said Michael Margue.

They’ll be trained by officers who know the ropes.

“We’re gonna instill in them the confidence that they need,” said Field Training Officer Clifford Russell Jr.

McCarthy says the new recruits will also lessen the reliance on officers working overtime and weekends, which has strained the budget to the tune of tens of millions of dollars already this year.