Anti-violence Initiative Targets Narcotics on City’s Westside
Supports Comprehensive Policing Strategy to Reduce Crime in Chicago
CHICAGO – Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced an additional anti-violence initiative – the Westside Narcotics Initiative – focused on narcotics markets on Chicago’s Westside, where the drug trade is a leading driver of violence. This is part of the Chicago Police Department’s larger strategic plan to reduce crime in Chicago which is delivering progress with reductions in murders, shootings and overall crime.
Under the initiative, officers from the Chicago Police Department’s Narcotics Division will conduct undercover operations to bust drug dealers in a certain geographic area, and then uniformed officers from the Bureau of Patrol will significantly increase their presence in the area to prevent an immediate reemergence of drug dealers and gang activity. Wrap around services will flood the area to engage neighbors and build community awareness. The undercover initiative will be carried out by 30 police officers who are the latest wave of 200 officers moved from desk jobs to the street as part of the Superintendent’s civilianization efforts.
“Drug dealing is the economic engine of many Westside gangs, and removing narcotics markets from our communities is an essential part of our strategy in combating violence,” said Superintendent McCarthy. “Through the Westside Narcotics Initiative we will sweep drug dealers out and expand community engagement to turn the streets back to our residents.”
“We will continue to build out our comprehensive crime reduction strategy by addressing the issues affecting our communities, and we will not rest until the entire City enjoys the same sense of safety,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Smart police strategies are key to reducing crime, but they are only a part of a comprehensive strategy that includes stronger prevention, more stable parenting, spirited preaching and stiffer penalties for serious offenses courts.”
This initiative continues a new piece of the larger comprehensive policing strategy created, built and implemented under Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent McCarthy. In less than two years there has been a sea change at the Chicago Police Department, including a return to community policing, creating Chicago’s first comprehensive Gang Violence Reduction Initiative, creating a meritocracy and depoliticizing the Department, instituting CompStat to track the effectiveness of crime prevention efforts, implementing Operation Impact to saturate high crime areas with officers and a closer partnership with the communities and residents officers serve.
To date in 2013 murders, shooting and overall crime are down in the City of Chicago. In the first quarter of the year, shootings fell 27 percent compared to 2012. Murders fell 42 percent, continuing a six-month trend downward throughout the city. Overall crime also decreased eight percent in the first quarter, following an eight percent decrease in 2012.
“We are seeing progress through the support of the community, the hard work of our officers and a comprehensive policing strategy, but this is by no means victory,” said Superintendent McCarthy. “We will continue to build on our larger crime reduction strategy to bring safety to every neighborhood.”