Chicago recorded a historically low number of murders in February, coinciding with the introduction of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy's latest crime-fighting tactic: hiring officers on overtime to work in 10 “hot zones” across the city, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Last month, McCarthy paid overtime to 200 officers to conduct such nighttime patrols in 10 zones that represented less than 2 percent of Chicago's land mass but 20 percent of the city's violence.
The saturation tactic freed district commanders to send their regularly scheduled beat officers to other places in their districts that demanded attention, McCarthy said. There were zero murders or shootings in those 10 overtime zones, compared to one murder and two shootings in February 2012. Some aldermen and community leaders have been hammering McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel for what they perceive as armed violence spinning out of control. Last year, there were 506 murders, a 16 percent rise over the previous year. The leader of the City Council's Black Caucus recently warned that he might seek McCarthy's ouster if murders increase in 2013. McCarthy's latest overtime saturation patrols are part of his larger crime-fighting strategy, which focuses on beat cops.