Rahm Emanuel announced at a press conference yesterday that 53 new police officers will be on the streets in the city of Chicago in an effort to reduce violence.
And city officials say that 100 new recruits will also be joining the police academy every month throughout 2018.
The city has been steadily building its police force and aim to grow the number by 1000 officers. The hope is that these officers will provide more eyes on the street and help to prevent drug crimes that happen around the city.
At the press conference, the mayor commended the work of Chicago’s police in the past year which saw a reduction in homicides from 808 in 2016 to 675 in 2017. What he neglected to mention was that there were only 510 homicides in 2015.
While any decrease in that number is good news, there is still much work to be done according to Police Superintended Eddie Johnson. “It’s important to keep in mind these numbers aren’t a spike of the football by any means,” he said last month, and that it’s “going to take time to root out everything we need to do.”
Part of what has helped this reduction in homicides and crime in general is the implementation of Strategic Decision Support Centers which help focus officers to particular locations where crimes might occur.
Six new of these centers will go online later this year. “That will allow the police department to go from reactive to proactive – rather than waiting to stop the second shot, they’ll be stopping the first shot from ever happening,” Emanuel said.
Emanuel added that more investment needs to be seen in underserved communities to provide economic and educational support. But only time will tell if that amounts to anything more than lip service and good intentions at the beginning of the year.