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Chicago Police Are Struggling To Tamp Down January Violence Spike

By Mae Rice in News on Jan 26, 2016 9:46PM

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 30: Interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addresses changes in training and procedures that will take place at the Chicago police department in the wake of recent shootings. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This January, Chicago has been unusually riddled with gun violence, so much so that Interim Chicago Police Supt. John Escalante is actively seeking new strategies to stop it, according to the Sun-Times.

“I put [my patrol command staff] kind of on notice yesterday,” Escalante told the Sun-Times Tuesday. “I told them when we meet today, I want everyone to bring with them any ideas they want to try — things that we have done in the past that we got away from or things that we haven’t done that they want to give a try.”

Escalante, who’s currently auditioning for the police superintendent role left vacant by Garry McCarthy, is reacting to an unusually bloody start to 2016. So far, 41 people have been killed in January, and 244 have been shot, making this January bloodier than any of the last four years’ according to the Sun-Times.

“It’s unique to Chicago. The major cities around the country that saw the same spike we did last year aren’t seeing that spike this year. So we have been working very hard to try to pinpoint what might be causing it,” Escalante told the Sun-Times.

So far, the department has a few measures planned to combat the crime wave, among them “gang call-ins,” where police reach out to gang members to both demand they stop the violence and raise awareness of relevant social services they could use.

However, Escalante views this as a long-term issue. “Until we get a better handle on the gun violence and [start] getting some assistance through laws, policy and the courts, we’re going to be struggling with this issue for some time,” he told the Sun-Times.