With Chicago off to a violent start in 2016, the city’s police and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced plans to team up to combat gangs and remove illegal guns from the street, reports the Chicago Tribune. The partnership isn’t new, but typically in the past the sheriff’s office has helped during summer when violence peaks. In summer 2014, the sheriff’s office dispatched more than 100 officers to some of Chicago’s most violent areas, focusing on capturing fugitives and recovering illegal guns. Officials said the partnership will be more coordinated than before, targeting gangs in two police districts, among the most violent in the city.
Interim police Superintendent John Escalante and Sheriff Tom Dart will help coordinate the effort. “Some of this had been done, (but) this will be on a much higher level,” Dart said. “This is not … just a Chicago problem. It’s a county problem. It’s a state problem.” Through Tuesday, 190 people were shot across the city, more than double the 78 a year earlier. Homicides have risen to 29, compared with 16 a year earlier. Both shootings and homicides also were up sharply for 2015.