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Mag Mile Arrests: 'What You Saw Was A Great Police Response'

 Police Supt. Garry McCarthy addresses crime and gun violence at his weekly news conference. (May 20, 2013)
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy addresses crime and gun violence at his weekly news conference. (May 20, 2013)
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DNAinfo/Erica Demarest

MORGAN PARK — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the city saw a “great police response” when officers arrested 12 people in a downtown disturbance over the weekend.

Ten juveniles and two adults were picked up Saturday night after a “group disturbance” near the Magnificent Mile, police said. Charges ranged from reckless conduct and loitering to damaging a patrol officer’s bike.

“So far, to date [in 2013], there have been no major incidents on Michigan Avenue,” McCarthy said Monday during a news conference at the Morgan Park District police station.

“What’s getting reported is mayhem,” McCarthy said. “It’s patently false. We have a strategy in place. We have deployment in place. If you look at the major incidents that have been reported on Michigan Avenue, in each case there were no robberies, thefts or property damage. What you saw was a great police response.”

On a Saturday evening in late March, nearly 30 people — most of them minors — were arrested in conjunction to a Red Line robbery and fighting on the Mag Mile.

McCarthy said police patrols have increased in the area, and “intelligence sources” tipped off cops to this weekend’s activity.

“We met [the young people] when they came off the train,” McCarthy said. “We walked them around like we did with NATO protestors. And when they crossed the line into what could’ve been criminal-type activity instead of just being kids, we took effective action.”

McCarthy said such focused strategies are reducing violence throughout Chicago.

Over the weekend, five people were killed and at least 18 others — including a 12-year-old boy — were wounded in shootings across the city.

Still, McCarthy said, Chicago is seeing “measurable progress.” In the first five months of 2013, there have been 72 fewer murders and 210 fewer shootings than in the same timeframe last year.

“The progress we’re making is just that: It’s progress. It’s not victory,” McCarthy said. “We’ll continue to implement our strategic approach to policing.”

This includes patrolling “hot spots” with overtime officers, engaging in community policing tactics and connecting with civic leaders.

“There’s more crime that happens in the summertime,” McCarthy said. “First of all, kids are out of school. Second of all, there’s more people on the street. In the case of Chicago, that dynamic means gang members who are looking for each other on the street are more likely to find each other.

“Weather does not cause the crime,” he said, “but strategic policing can prevent it.”