City sends bike cops into high-crime neighborhoods
BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Staff Reporter April 18, 2014 11:57AM
Updated: May 20, 2014 6:10AM
The Chicago Police Department is deploying bikes for use by patrol officers in 19 of 20 targeted zones that have had a history of high rates of violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced Friday.
Roughly a third of the 360 foot patrol officers assigned to the police’s Operation Impact program, which targets high-violence neighborhoods, have been trained and equipped with bikes, officials said. Some 140 officers will participate in the bike patrol.
The bikes are being deployed in zones on the South and West sides.
“While these zones represent just about 3 percent of the geography of the city of Chicago, for the last three years they represented almost 20 percent of the robberies, shootings and murders that happen in our city,” McCarthy said.
In March 2013, the department began assigning foot patrol offers to the high-crime areas. McCarthy said feedback from the communities has been positive, as have the results. Since Feb. 1, 2013, in the impact zones, murders are down nearly 50 percent, shootings are down 43 percent and overall crime is down 26 percent, doubling and outpacing citywide reductions, he said.
“It’s not just perception,” he said, adding the bike patrols “will make officers even more mobile and more responsive while still making it easy for residents to interact and communicate with them.”