Chicagoans are calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reveal concrete plans to curb gun violence after the city was shaken by yet another bloody weekend. The Democrat drew ire this week after saying an “attitudinal change” is needed in order to create change.
Emanuel, who has been mayor of the Windy City since 2011, urged locals to “be a neighbor” and “speak up” to assist police officers in identifying potential killers.
“This might not be politically correct, but I know the power of what faith and family can do,” Emanuel said on Aug. 7, according to the Chicago Sun Times. “There is nothing on the streets of Chicago that is stronger than what is in the faith community and what’s in family. Our kids need that structure.”
The mayor then promised to deploy more officers to South Side and West Side police departments, which will be stepping up patrols on weekends — when more shootings are reported.
City officials say new crime-fighting measures in recent years have helped bring homicides down, but the number is still significant.
Chicago ended 2017 with 650 homicides, down from 771 the year before. Though the drop was an improvement, last year’s total exceeded the combined number of killings in New York and Los Angeles, the two U.S. cities bigger than Chicago.
Here’s a look at everything Emanuel has proposed in response to the city’s soaring crime.
Deploying more officers
During the week, Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said 430 officers will be dispersed throughout the city’s most violent neighborhoods on the South and West Side — particularly around the Ogden, Harrison and Austin police districts. On weekends, that number will increase to 600.
“We have ordered a series of strategic deployments aimed at keeping our community safe,” Emanuel said during an Aug. 7 news conference. “These additional deployments will continue to supplement existing manpower.”
Extending police hours
In order to complete the increase, some officers will have their regular shifts extended, while other units will have their days off canceled, including those who work within the department’s fugitive apprehension unit.
“We are taking resources from other areas of the city,” Johnson explained. “These are discretionary resources, so we are not taking any manpower from a particular district and relocating them; we’re taking manpower from units that do other things.”
Asking for community help
Emanuel urged Chicagoans to come forward if they have information related to the deadly shootings that took place over the weekend — adding that no arrests have yet been made.
“This is not about the Chicago Police Department, alone,” Emanuel reportedly said. “It’s not about a summer jobs program, alone. This is about the fabric of a neighborhood and community — as the superintendent just said — who knows who did this.”
The mayor promised to work with the detective division and state’s attorney to ensure protection for witnesses who bravely step forward to identify the shooters and testify against them.
Emanuel believes events such as National Night Out, a national campaign that promotes partnerships between police officers and the public, which was held this week may also help bring people together.
The Associated Press contributed to this.