As Chicago continues to outpace last year’s shooting and homicide totals, the city’s top cop said his department will be re-deploying dozens of officers to focus more on the gang systems he says are among the main drivers of local violence.
Chicago police Superintendent David Brown on Friday announced that officers serving on the department’s Community Safety Team will be moved into new units centered on gang investigations, homicides, carjackings and narcotics.
“We’re going after gangs,” he said during a news conference at the Chicago Police Department’s headquarters. “Gangs are out of control in this city. We’re going after them to hold them accountable.”
Department officials said the new strategy is moving away from mass incarceration policies of the past, and will instead focus on data- and intelligence-driven deployments to stop violence before it happens and better aid investigations when violent crimes do occur.
In addition to targeting gangs, CPD leaders Friday said 40 community safety officers will be moved onto vehicular hijacking teams. Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said that will be done to assist detectives in carjacking cases, as the department this year has already made 948 carjacking-related arrests.
Beyond that, Brown did not give specific numbers of how many officers would be moved into new units.
Already this year, Chicago has recorded at least 542 homicides — a 2% increase over the same time last year and more than the city saw in all of 2019.
Continuing what city and CPD leaders have called an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to public safety, Brown on Friday said there needs to be a united effort targeting gangs that includes prosecutors from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and city attorneys.
“There’s room at the table,” he said, “for our efforts to take down gangs.”