CHICAGO — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced Tuesday a new effort to dismantle West Side drug rings using undercover cops.
“Drug dealing is the economic engine of many Westside [sic] gangs,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Removing narcotics markets from our communities is an essential part of our strategy in combating violence.”
The Westside Narcotics Initiative will employ about 30 undercover narcotics officers — many of whom were recently moved from desk to street jobs — to bust drug dealers, police said.
After the undercover officers break up a drug market, uniformed officers would increase their presence in the area in order to keep the drug dealers from returning, the statement said. The city would then provide services in the neighborhood to “engage neighbors and build community awareness," the statement said.
The initiative is part of McCarthy’s larger crime-reduction plan, which includes targeting ‘hot spots’ and putting more officers on the streets.
“We will continue to build out our comprehensive crime reduction strategy by addressing the issues affecting our communities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement, “and we will not rest until the entire City [sic] enjoys the same sense of safety.”
According to McCarthy, the city’s overall crime rates is down in 2013. Murder rates have declined in the last six months, with 42 percent fewer murders in the first quarter of 2013 than in 2012, he said.
Many attribute the drop to prolonged wintry weather. Crime rates typically rise as temperatures do.
“We are seeing progress … but this is by no means victory,” McCarthy said. “We will continue to build on our larger crime reduction strategy to bring safety to every neighborhood.”