The 24th Police District station in Rogers Park will soon host a strategic deployment center staffed by analysts from the University of Chicago Crime Lab and police officers, bringing to our community the same kind of “smart policing strategy” that has resulted in significant reductions in violent crime in the police districts where it has been implemented.
The expansion of smart policing to Rogers Park comes at a time of heightened tension in the neighborhood resulting from two recent random murders. A full complement of detectives continue to investigate these two crimes and are tracking down over 300 tips that have been reported to the police. Police report some promising leads, but no arrest has been made.
As part of the smart policing strategy, high-definition surveillance cameras will be installed on the public way in strategic locations throughout the neighborhood. These cameras, along with existing police surveillance cameras and cameras from other public agencies, will be monitored 24/7 from an office in the 24th District station.
Private property owners who wish to connect their surveillance cameras to this system may do so, but only if the cameras are trained on the public way and are technologically compatible with the City’s network. For more information on connecting your cameras to the City’s system, click here.
The deployment center also will include predictive software and mapping technology. Data, such as offender criminal history and past crime incidents, will be placed into a single, usable platform to help the district commander and officers make critical deployment decisions and prepare proper responses to calls for service. Civilian analysts will examine crime trends and coordinate with uniformed staff to deliver up-to-the-minute information directly to patrol units in the field.
Every beat officer in the 24th District will receive a mobile phone equipped with crime analysis tools. These devices give real-time access to district intelligence information to police officers in the field, helping them determine deployment strategies based on historical crime data. This mobile technology will allow for smarter, data-driven patrols and significantly reduce response times to calls for service.
The expansion of smart policing strategies to the 24th District follows a pilot implemented in March in the 12th Police District on the City’s near west side, which was faced with violent crimes, such as robberies and carjackings and, to a lesser extend, gun violence. The Police Department installed a strategic deployment center in the district station and additional surveillance cameras and since then, the 12th District has experienced a 37% reduction in shooting incidents, 64% reduction in murders, 35% reduction in carjackings, and a 15% reduction in robberies.
Of course, enhanced technology and policing techniques is only one part of the solution to violence in our community. The City will invest an additional $10.4 million in youth mentoring programs this coming year on top of the $25 million that already has been spent to provide universal mentoring in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades. Just this past summer, over 32,000 Chicago youth were enrolled in summer jobs and internship programs, more than double what was spent ten years ago.
And over $77 million was spent this past year on after school programs for more than 110,000 youth in Chicago, including Rogers Park.
Recognizing that another part of the solution to the crime and violence problem is giving people who may have made mistakes in life a second chance, my office sponsors an annual Expungement Seminar to educate people on how to clear their criminal record and remove that barrier to employment. Literally hundreds of individuals have take advantage of this opportunity to clear their record. I am the only alderman in the City who offers this seminar.
I also sponsor an annual Job Fair that matches job seekers in our neighborhood with employers both locally and around the region and I’ve secured annual funding for the Howard Area Community Center’s Employment and Resource Center, which helps adults prepare for and find jobs. The Employment and Resource Center also has specific opportunities for people re-entering from prison with multiple needs including employment.
This holistic approach to crime fighting–more effective policing strategies combined with investing in youth, second chances and jobs–is the key to making our neighborhood and city safer.