After a horrific mass shooting occurs, like that in Las Vegas or Sutherland Springs, the gun control debate ensues with those on the Left advocating for stricter gun control measures and those on the Right wanting to look at mental illness and the root causes of violence. The Right also doesn’t hesitate to point out that though a city like Chicago has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation, violent crime hasn’t been affected by such legislation. For example, in the first weekend of the new year, the Windy City saw four people killed and 15 others injured due to gun violence.
However, despite a tragic start to the year, there is welcome news coming out of the city, according to CBS Chicago:
Last year, Chicago was drawing headlines for the soaring number of shootings and murders… [Chicago Police Supt. Eddie] Johnson will tout a 25 percent reduction in shootings in some of the city’s most violent neighborhoods, and a 15 percent drop in the number of murders across the entire city.
And what is the reason for this crime drop, exactly? Is it more gun control? Is it the city’s gun buyback programs?
Johnson believes the drop in shootings was the result of the city’s growing smart policing strategy.
The main focus has been the creation and expansion of strategic decision support centers in several police districts. Also known as “situation rooms,” the first such centers were opened in the districts with the highest violent crime rates.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officials believe the city’s reduction in violent crime over the past year is due in large part to the use of the support centers, where officers work daily with University of Chicago Crime Lab analysts.
“We call it cops and nerds. You have data scientists and police officers sitting in districts, analyzing data, and it’s really a great relationship,” he said.
The situation rooms use ShotSpotter gunshot detection systems that can triangulate the precise location of gunfire, and allow officers to respond more quickly to shootings.
The first support centers opened in January 2017. Eight districts now have installed the situation rooms. Another four districts were slated to open support centers by the end of 2018.
The article also references what the police department calls “hunch labs.” By looking at violent crime data and analyzing it, law enforcement can predict where violent crimes are likely to occur. Here’s what Chicago Police Supt. Johnson had to say:
“Over the last year, targeted data-driven enforcement has been the centerpiece of CPD’s crime strategy, which has been supported by significant investments in technology,” Johnson said. “These investments have made us more predictive and more proactive, especially in districts that have presented historical challenges with violence.”
What the Chicago PD and its men and women in blue have done for the city is looking to be replicated across the country. These heroes have shown that by investing some time and resources in a police department, by investing in new technology and utilizing the expertise of data analysts, cities can see a reduction in violent crime. It was evident that gun control wasn’t solving Chicago’s violent crime problem, and it was even more apparent that changes needed to occur. It looks like those changes are finally starting to take place.
Now that officers have shown that there is a way to handle gun crime without infringing on a Chicagoan’s Second Amendment rights, one can hope that the city will make some changes to its existing gun laws – or maybe that’s just a Second Amendment supporter’s pipe dream. If shootings are already diminishing because criminals now realize they will be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, imagine what would happen if these thugs knew more law-abiding Chicagoans were also armed and able to better defend themselves.
What Chicago PD is doing is working, and there’s that saying: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”