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Despite weekend shootings, McCarthy says strategies ‘clearly working’

Garry McCarthy

Garry McCarthy

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Updated: August 10, 2013 6:22AM

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday that his crime-fighting strategies are “clearly working,” even though he was “disappointed” at the number of shootings across the city during the long July 4th weekend.

“There’s still an unacceptable amount of violence in this city,” McCarthy said at a news conference.

McCarthy discussed the weekend’s violence while unveiling a plan intended to strengthen ties between cops and the community, which includes a pilot Twitter program. Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) officers plan to use the social media website to notify residents about upcoming beat meetings and other important neighborhood events, McCarthy said. Residents will also be able to watch and participate in community beat meetings online, McCarthy said.

The Twitter program is set to begin in the Englewood, Harrison and River North districts, but will then “quickly expand citywide,” McCarthy said.

The city is also about to unveil a redesigned, more user-friendly Chicago Police website. And McCarthy is promoting an idea his predecessor, Jody Weis, tried, calling on residents to send anonymous texts about crimes to police. Tipsters will also be able to send photos from smartphones through the 911 system, McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s comments came a day before state lawmakers were expected to fight back efforts by Gov. Pat Quinn to rewrite legislation that would end Illinois’ prohibition on gun owners carrying their weapons.

At a separate news conference Monday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson predicted Chicago would see only more violence if the concealed-carry bill becomes a reality, a point disputed by supporters of the measure.

“More guns, more killing,” Jackson said, as his group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, held its international convention in Chicago.

The Chicago Sun-Times tallied 38 separate shooting incidents from Wednesday evening through Sunday afternoon, including 10 homicides.

McCarthy defended his policies, saying there’s been a 25 percent reduction in shootings from last year, and a 29 percent drop in the murder rate.

McCarthy also said Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues to back him.

“I’m absolutely positive that I enjoy the mayor’s confidence,” McCarthy said. “He wants to know what’s going on, just like I want to know.”

Contributing: Nausheen Husain

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