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Rahm: We're Moving Successful Crime-Fighting Initiative To Neighborhoods That Need Them

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 13, 2012 1:50PM

© 2012 City of Chicago, photo by Brooke Collins.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday said a crime-fighting initiative focusing on gangs and drug traffic in two of Chicago's most violent police districts will be expanded to other areas of the city after seeing double digit declines in murder rates in those districts.

According to an article in the Sun-Times the strategy, known as a "chokepoint," relies on cooperation between Chicago Police and DEA officials to target the street-level drug trade connections between gangs and Mexican drug-trafficking cartels. The pilot program in place in the Englewood and Harrison districts has resulted in a 43 percent decline in murders in Englewood since it was implemented in January, and a 29 percent drop in the Harrison District murder rate. More than 40 DEA agents and officials from other state and federal authorities are working with the police department in this new strike force, one of seven such teams in the country.

Emanuel was so jazzed by the numbers he's been chomping at the bit to expand the program to other high-crime districts.

“Look, we’re seeing a reduction in [overall citywide] crime at 10 percent. I’m not [satisfied] with that. ... We’re not doing well in [other] parts of the city. We’re doing [well] where we launched something new and innovative in [the Englewood and Harrison Districts]. ... Now, I want to see where we’re going take it to the other parts of the city,” Emanuel said.

South Chicago, with your 67 percent increase in murders this year, you're one of the most likely districts to see the initiative next.

Emanuel's announcement came as his office continues in damage-control mode to dispute statements made by Don Welsh, CEO of the city convention and tourism office Choose Chicago, that the city's 38 percent increase in the murder rate over 2011 may hamper his office's efforts to attract business to the city.