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Crime Was Down in August, Top Cop Says

By Erica Demarest | September 3, 2013 1:11pm
 Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday there are ways the Police Department can cut costs and still be effective in fighting crime.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday there are ways the Police Department can cut costs and still be effective in fighting crime.
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DNAinfo/Erica Demarest

BRIDGEPORT — After several aldermen threatened to withhold voting on the 2014 budget if more police aren't hired, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said there are ways to police efficiently even with budget cuts.

"We’re looking at different methods that we can still save" money, McCarthy said Tuesday at a news conference at the Deering Police District station, 3120 S. Halsted St.

"We keep looking at creating efficiencies and finding efficiencies — whether it means getting cops out on the streets and hiring civilians, or consolidating districts, which we did successfully in three separate neighborhoods.

"We’re looking at what we can do to save money, while at the same time, not hurting our performance," he said.

On Monday, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) demanded more cops in Uptown after a 14-year-old boy was critically wounded in a shooting near West Wilson Avenue and North Broadway.

"Simply put, more police are needed on the streets so that we can get a better handle on all of the crimes committed in the area," Cappleman said in an email. "A number of aldermen and I are insisting on a commitment of more police officers on the street before we vote on the 2014 city budget."

At Tuesday's news conference, McCarthy touted the reduced crime rates Chicago has seen this year. To date, murders are down 23 percent, and shootings have dropped 22 percent, he said.

“It’s not one thing that we do. It’s everything that we do," McCarthy said, as he again advocated community policing strategies such as Operation Impact, which saturates crime ''hot spots'' with overtime police officers.

Establishing partnerships with local leaders and community groups can also reduce crime, McCarthy said, because keeping youths busy will keep them off the streets.

Playing sports was “one of the things that made a big difference in my life growing up in the Bronx. I played football, ran track, played basketball and played baseball. I didn’t have time to get in trouble because I was occupied," McCarthy said.

The superintendent pointed to Safe Passage as an example of communities coming together.

"You’ve got parents and siblings walking kids to school, and it’s a whole different dynamic that’s happening," he said. "You’ve got people sitting on porches waving to us [the police] and saying, 'Hooray, thanks for being here.'

"In my mind, this is an opportunity. Because it’s not just CPS’s job, it’s not just city government’s job, it’s not just the mayor’s job, it’s not just my job. Its everybody’s job to get those kids in and out of school."