CHICAGO (CBS) — Amid a spike in shootings and homicides to start the new year, the Chicago Police Department has forged a new partnership with the Cook County Sheriff’s office to target gang violence that affects both the city and suburbs.

Interim Police Supt. John Escalante said he has enough officers to police the city, but welcomes a stronger partnership with Cook County Sheriff’s officers in targeting gangs and guns, starting in two West Side police districts.

Standing with Sheriff Tom Dart at Chicago Police Headquarters, Escalante said, while the two agencies have worked together before, this will be better coordinated.

“The Chicago Police Department and the Cook County Sheriff’s office will be leveraging the full strength of a mutual partnership to target the gangs and violence that pose a threat to the city of Chicago,” Escalante said. “Through this partnership, we will use every investigative and operational resource to pursue justice throughout the Chicagoland area.”

The superintendent said the effort would increase the visibility of police officers in areas plagued by violence.

Dart said they hope to specifically target violent crime that spills over beyond Chicago, and into the suburbs.

“Guns and gangs don’t have borders,” he said. “This is not a Chicago problem; it’s a county problem, a state problem.”

The sheriff said his officers and deputies would not be responding to Chicago Police radio calls, but would be able to communicate on the same frequency when need be.

North Lawndale resident and mother Darlene Williams says the extra police presence is a welcome sight.

“Right now I really don’t let her play that much out here because there’s too much gangs out there over there and stuff and out here shooting and stuff, so I have to take her to a park to play.’ ”

When the targeted team effort started last night, two guns were recovered during traffic stops, 11 home visits were made to those in electronic monitoring and nearly 20 traffic citations were issued.

The effort will begin in the Austin and Harrison districts on the West Side, two of the highest-crime areas of the city. However, Dart and Escalante said officers would be moved to wherever they’re needed to go after gangs and guns.