20 wounded in weekend violence; McCarthy cites progress in crime fight
BY DAVID ROEDER Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org July 8, 2012 1:32PM
Updated: August 10, 2012 6:26AM
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Sunday cited progress in reducing violent crime in Chicago but made it clear he’s far from declaring victory over gangs.
Shootings this weekend were half the total from the same weekend last year, and the rate of shootings is now 8 percent higher than it was a year ago, McCarthy said. He said the year-over-year increase at the end of March was 40 percent.
Some 20 people had been injured in shootings across the city between Friday night and Sunday evening, and one man was killed by a police officer after he pointed a gun, according to police.
Homicides are well below the city’s record total of 970 in 1974. In each of the last three years, Chicago has recorded close to 450 murders. New strategies to combat gangs are seeing results, McCarthy said.
“This is not a new issue in the city and I’ve got tell you, we are not going to celebrate 450,” he said at a news conference. “We’re not going to declare success. We have to look at the process of making this city safer.”
New police techniques include investigating the social networks of victims in gang-related homicides. McCarthy said statistics show those acquaintances are 30 times more likely than other people to be involved in a violent crime.
To illustrate an emphasis on keeping police in areas they know, McCarthy said tactical unit officers now stay within their districts unless the department’s highest command approves sending them elsewhere.
In response to criticism of his decision to disband the mobile strike forces that had been used to saturate crime hot spots, as reported in the Sun-Times Sunday, he said the move has provided 200 more officers around the city that local commanders can assign at their discretion.
He said Chicago’s gangs are splintering and now have 650 factions vs. about 500 just two years ago. The activity has created new rivalries and fed the violence, McCarthy said.