Mayor Emanuel, CPD Supt. Johnson say policing strategy led to drop in violent crime

CHICAGO — Official statistics show shootings and murders are down substantially in recent months, which Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson say shows their strategic policing plan is getting results and leading to renewal.

“We are seeing substantial progress, but by no means are we spiking the ball," Johnson said.

Violent crime is down 28 percent overall citywide, a long way from when the city recorded nearly 800 murders and 3,500 shootings just two years ago.

Part of this strategic approach includes improving transparency, training and technology in the police force. They've also opened Strategic Decision Support Centers in some areas, where highly-trained officers analyze data and use real-time information from cameras and gunshot detection technology to deploy resources.

Crime has fallen 34 percent in the nine police districts that have the centers, according to official statistics.

“That room... tells you where we think something will happen based on technology,” Emanuel said. “It’s actually proving that we can be smarter, better professionally trained officers and proactive."

During a press conference Sunday, the superintendent also announced that nearly 100 new officers will be patrolling neighborhoods, as Chicago moves towards its goal of increasing the force by 1,000 sworn officers this year. The mayor says about 100 officers will be added to the police force each month.

“We don’t want our officers to patrol a neighborhood. We want them to be part of a neighborhood, and that’s what these investments make possible,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel and Johnson say their approach to policing that has also become a model for the country.

“... a couple of years ago, nobody thought we could get the gun violence back down," Johnson said. "But this technology and the community relationship part of it is paying huge dividends, so now we are becoming a model agency."

The encouraging crime statistics are perhaps the first sign of what the mayor hopes will be a spring of renewal for some of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods.

“We’ll measure by how many new businesses are created, how many new graduates are on their way to college, not by the number of gun shots. That’s my standard,” Emanuel said.