Other News...
sponsored by Richardson Repair

Chicago police head outlines anti-gang plan

Send a link to a friend

[October 25, 2008]  CHICAGO (AP) -- The head of the nation's second-largest police department says he is establishing a new unit to deal with gang slayings, which he blames for a murder rate that eclipses that of New York and Los Angeles.

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis told aldermen Friday that he was setting up the Mobile Strike Force to attack the city's gangs. The unit will be comprised of roughly 150 veteran officers divided into about a dozen teams and will "disrupt gang crimes through physical arrests, search warrants and gun seizures," Weis said.

DonutsHe said there were 75 identified gangs in the city and 75,000 gang members.

"The gang culture continues to be the driving force behind the vast majority of violence, with more than half the murders committed by gangs," he said.

Weis said the department will focus on gathering intelligence and moving quickly to put police officers in neighborhoods with the most drug dealing and violent gang activity.

Aldermen expressed concern about the rising murder rate, pointing to a published report that Chicago had 426 slayings as of Tuesday, compared to 417 for New York and 302 for Los Angeles.


Murders and other violent crimes in Chicago have been of major concern in recent months, with Weis harshly criticized for the way the department has reacted to it. At the Friday budget hearing, questions were raised about the morale of officers, an issue that has made headlines around the nation as statistics emerged to suggest officers have not been as aggressive in fighting crime as they were in the past.

Officers have said they are concerned that Weis and his administration do not support them.

Weis said Friday that he's trying to assure officers "that we have their backs."

The budget hearing also addressed how the city's proposed plans for 2009 would affect the police department. The $1.2 billion budget calls for hiring just 200 officers - far fewer than in recent years and hundreds fewer than the 450-600 officers that are expected to retire next year.

[to top of second column]

Weis said he was committed to realigning beats based on where officers are needed, but did not know when that would happen.

Aldermen who represent high-crime areas said that their concerns about crime were not targeted solely at the police. Alderman Emma Mitts said that when she hears about a shooting, she finds herself hoping it occurred in another alderman's ward.

"I believe our murder rate is up because we don't have the resources in some areas of the city," said Alderman Anthony Beale. "If it upsets some people, I could care less."

[Associated Press; By DON BABWIN]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor