The Chicago Police Department was “slow to react” to the splintering of street gangs that drove a spike in the city's homicide rate, Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged yesterday, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. He made the rare admission during an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks before a live audience at the Brookings Institution. He said Chicago police are “making progress now,” but success required the department to be more nimble and “adopt different tactics” on a daily basis.
Describing the city’s gang warfare, he said, “It wasn't two gangs fighting each other. It was two groups inside of these gangs fighting each other for turf with leadership that was much younger than 30. They have a different perspective. And we as a police department and as a city, [were] slow to react to that.” Recently, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy ordered his staff to respond to gang shootings by drawing up a list of warring gang leaders in the area, then knocking on their doors to warn them to stop the shooting and give them a contact card for job training and social services. The so-called “custom notifications” have so far been delivered to 50 people in six police districts. Early results have been promising.