CHICAGO (CBS) — Back in the beginning of the summer, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city’s summer violence plan would include a focus on 60 hot spots citywide.
Three months later, CBS 2 is asking – did that focus actually work? CBS 2’s Megan Hickey went on a search for answers, but hit a bit of a snag.
So far, neither the Mayor’s Office nor the Chicago Police Department have been able to produce the list of 60 hot spots the mayor mentioned, which has made tracking the progress somewhat difficult.
CBS 2 was able to take a look at one spot, and what we found might surprise you.
Daniel Agbohlah runs his tile business from his West Side home near Homan Avenue and Adams Street. He moved to Chicago from Ghana decades ago.
“I’ve lived in the United States for 35 years,” Agbohlah said.
Agbohlah is proud of his East Garfield Park community neighborhood, but he had grown tired of the police sirens in recent years.
“That’s why I pray every day that nothing happens in this neighborhood,” he said.
The site was one of the hot spots identified by holiday safety planners back on Memorial Day. There has been a steady rise in assaults, robberies, and other violent crimes during the summer – seven in 2015, eight in 2016 and 2017, and 12 in 2018.
Mayor Lightfoot vowed on Memorial Day to bring “an intense focus” to the site and 59 others this summer.
“We’re flooding the zone,” she said. “We know the areas in the city where we believe there are challenges, and we’re going to make sure that we are physically present.”
So, did it work? A neighbor said she can hear the difference.
“Police, sirens, helicopters that kind of thing – now it’s very quiet,” said the neighbor Gayla.
But what about the crime statistics?
Three aggravated batteries have been reported on these few square blocks this summer. It turns out that is just a fraction of the violent crime reported last year.
Some neighbors have noticed a heightened police presence.
“It’s nice to know they’re around,” Gayla said.
“I want all the blocks in Chicago to be like this block,” Agbohlah added.
Others said the abandoned buildings that fueled drug dealing in the area are slowly being sold or torn down.
However they look at it, neighbors are hopeful that it’s a good sign for the City of Chicago.
“I don’t know what has caused the change, but I’m just happy for the change,” Gayla said.
Violent crime is down this summer overall, but not as dramatically as we found it in that particular area.
CBS 2 is still waiting on a full list of the 60 hot spots from the Mayor’s office. We’ll keep asking.