CHICAGO (CBS) — City Hall and the Chicago Police Department are launching a new crime-fighting initiative that will have police partnering with local businesses.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson called this an “all hands on deck approach” to help fight crime, following a weekend that saw 41 people shot across Chicago, three of them fatally.
The initiative is the latest piece of the new mayor’s community policing approach.
The plan involves placing a “business liaison officer” in each of the city’s 22 police districts. That person will be the main contact between local businesses and police.
The goal is to cut down on crime, so each business liaison officer will conduct foot patrols, and visit businesses that report crimes.
“Businesses are struggling. They’re struggling because they’re being victimized by people in communities that are committing crime. But what we hope happens is they’re going to be eyes and ears, and directly report not only to the district commander, but help with enforcement and compliance efforts,” Lightfoot said.
The city will use crime data to determine where the officers focus their efforts.
City officials also plan to crack down on problem businesses linked with illegal activity, license violations, and public safety complaints.
“We want to be very clear. This new initiative does not set out to punish businesses that are having trouble remaining in good standing. Instead, we are bringing them to the table as community partners to collaborate on violence deterrence strategies in each of our neighborhoods,” Johnson said.
A business liaison officer already has begun working at the Austin District on the West Side.