Police in Chicago announce changes after deadliest year since 1990s

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CHICAGO – Police in Chicago vowed changes for 2017 after the city endured the deadliest year in two decades.

In 2016, there were 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,331 shooting victims, the Chicago Police Department revealed Sunday.

According to WGN, shootings were up nearly 50 percent from 2015 and the number of homicides jumped nearly 65 percent. It was the deadliest year in Chicago since 1996.

CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson described the year as “difficult” and “disheartening.” The majority of the violence came from five police districts on the city’s west and south sides.

“Despite the belief that the entire city is up for grabs, the majority of the increase in the violence we saw in 2016, the majority of the violence was driven by 5 out of the 22 police districts," Johnson said.

Authorities attributed the problems to gangs, drugs and illegal guns. Johnson said there’s more to reducing violence than simply making more arrests. He said the department couldn’t do it by itself.

He outlined changes for 2017 intended to stem the tide of violence:

  • Hiring additional officers
  • Offering incentives to developers who bring jobs to high-crime communities
  • Mentoring teens in the city’s 20 most violent neighborhoods
  • Strengthening gun laws for repeat offenders
  • Focusing on policies and training
  • Revising the department’s community policing strategy

Johnson said the department will increase its use of technology including street cameras and body cameras. The department will also open a pair of “strategic decision support centers” to provide real-time information and analysis. The centers will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Johnson said, provided the department gets the tools it needs, he’s optimistic 2017 will be “much better” than 2016.

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