Saturation Patrols Help Cut Chicago Murders


One year after Chicago started anticrime strategies–including flooding “hot spot” neighborhoods with cops–homicides and shootings are down sharply, says the Chicago Tribune. Killings have dropped nearly 22 percent aned nonfatal shootings are down 36 percent. Police Superintendent Philip Cline said the “saturation patrols” assigned to the hottest spots in the city are the key. “That’s what’s been successful in New York, it’s been successful in Los Angeles and now it’s a success in Chicago,” he said. This year the city trails both New York and Los Angeles in homicide totals–a benchmark comparison the department has used.

The strategies include a more aggressive approach to attacking street corner drug operations, which police say drives much of the violence. After police round up gang members running the drug operations, they run reverse stings to nab drug customers. Commanders assign officers who usually served in desk jobs to spend 20 percent of their time sitting on the former drug spots to suppress any return. As violent crime continues to decrease, Cline and First Deputy Supt. Dana Starks said the police must work harder to engage residents in the neighborhoods where people are most at risk. They said fostering better relations in those communities is largely the job of patrol officers, and that residents must be willing to participate in the city’s community police initiative, CAPS.


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