CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago officials announced Tuesday hundreds of additional police officers will be deployed to city neighborhoods where a burst of gun violence over the weekend left at least 11 people dead and around 70 wounded.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said 400 additional officers are already patrolling areas on the West and South Sides where most of the shootings occurred. Another 200 will be added by the coming weekend.
Johnson refused to give details as to how the extra officers will be deployed, saying criminals are tactical and he doesn’t want to give them the department’s playbook.
“We have ordered a series of strategic deployments aimed at keeping our community safe,” he said. “These additional deployments will continue to supplement existing manpower.”
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Victims of this weekend’s shootings ranged in age from 11 to 63. One teenage boy was fatally shot while riding a bike Sunday afternoon, and other shootings took place at a block party and a funeral.
In order to complete the increase, some officers will have their regular shifts extended, while other units will have their days off canceled.
“We are taking resources from other areas of the city,” Johnson said. “These are discretionary resources, so we are not taking any manpower from a particular district and relocating them; we’re taking manpower from units that do other things.”
But as Johnson was announcing an increased police presence in certain neighborhoods, community and political leaders were promoting other ideas to suppress the violence.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said the crime environment in Chicago has been years in the making, due to neglect.
“People not having enough space. People not having enough food. People not getting the type of education that they need to get,” Davis said. “People who aren’t sure of what the next day is going to bring them. People who’ve lost hope, who’ve given up on their government.”
And several politicians highlighted the importance of family in the fight to curb the violence.
Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. condemned drugs and its profits as “blood money,” and said parents shouldn’t look away when their children come home with goods the adults know they didn’t give them the money to buy.
“There’s too many blind eyes in our community,” Burnett said.