Every year, the summer months bring spikes in violence, and with them, a renewed Chicago focus on police and crime, says the Chicago Tribune. Shootings in Chicago are down slightly, but homicides are up 5 percent. Residents in Woodlawn, one neighborhood struck by the violence, say when the thaw hits in spring, the chance for violence jumps. Months-old grudges can be avenged. Late-night parties spill into backyards and streets. The opportunity increases to air disagreements in the open.
As the city enters July – typically the deadliest month – police are ramping up their strategies. “We were looking for a new way of doing business,” said Superintendent Jody Weis. “We are down some officers, yet we have to provide the best service.” Weis has restructured how the department deploys officers to hot spots – in part a response to the fact that hiring has slowed to a crawl and he is down at least 800 positions. Officers from district offices and headquarters have been sent to the streets to increase patrols. Police have added officers to special units that swarm neighborhoods when crime breaks out. Officers’ shift start times were adjusted according to the most violent times. In one of its larger undertakings, the department revamped how it decides where those officers will be sent. Police increasingly are trying to predict where crime is likely to occur.