MORGAN PARK — City leaders hope more cops walking the beat will contribute to a lower crime rate.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced the new strategy Monday, saying the “Operation Impact” is just another of the department’s tools to reduce violence.
“Residents in the prioritized zones will not just see more officers in patrol cars, they’ll see Chicago police officers literally walking their streets,” he said. “I want to be very clear that when we see progress and reductions in violence, it’s not from any one thing we’re doing, it’s from everything we’re doing.”
An increase in foot patrol officers that began little more than a week ago will soon be expanded to 20 “zones” — areas that “account for significant amounts of violence in the city” and that could use a dose of “strategic saturation,” McCarthy said.
Because assigned officers to each zone will be staffed with officers fresh out of the police academy, as well as veteran officers, the number in each zone will depend on the most recent class size.
Officers will be chosen on a volunteer basis funded through overtime and will comprise a dual-pronged approach: foot patrols paired with a mobile force.
“This is a tried and true method of reducing crime,” McCarthy said.
He called the method a “Chicago-centric model of New York City’s ‘Operation Impact’,” a largely successful attempt to reduce violent hotspots by pairing new officers with veterans and long-term analysis of crime.
The foot patrols will create more opportunities for “face-to-face contact instead of just driving through,” McCarthy said.
Aldermen Howard Brookins (21st) and Carrie Austin (34th) were on hand to express their support for the increased measures.
"It's a program we've been advocating for for years," Brookins said, noting that officer assigned to the street on foot may better be able to tell the good kids from criminals.
In addition to the department's announcement of increased foot patrols, McCarthy said that more than 1,550 illegal firearms have been recovered from the streets of Chicago since Jan. 1.