Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ride-along: No murders, one shooting makes it a ‘good day’ in Englewood - Chicago Sun-Times

CPD District 7 - Englewood
Ride-along: No murders, one shooting makes it a ‘good day’ in Englewood - Chicago Sun-Times
Police work in one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods isn’t only about chasing the bad guys and locking them up.

It’s also about connecting with the people you see every day — even the bad guys.

It’s about being seen.

It’s about doing the mundane things that police Supt. Garry McCarthy is counting on to keep shootings and other serious crimes from happening in the first place: Shooing loiterers off the street corners. Busting up sidewalk dice games. Clearing teenagers out of raucous house parties. ...
When McCarthy came in with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the new superintendent disbanded the old specialized units of black-uniformed officers who used to be sent out en masse to hot spots of violence. Instead, McCarthy put his emphasis on beat cops and tactical officers like Clinton.

He boosted their numbers in Englewood, and he is making sure they have up-to-the-minute information on the 100 well-armed gang factions in the district. The goal: to prevent retaliatory shootings.

Englewood’s reputation for violence is well-deserved. This is where three members of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson’s family were gunned down in 2008 and where Officer Alex Valadez was fatally shot while on duty a year later. More recently, teen rapper Joseph “JoJo” Coleman was killed earlier this month in a drive-by shooting possibly connected to an Internet feud with another rapper.

This year, though, the number of murders in Englewood has plummeted by 30 percent, even as the number of killings citywide is up 27 percent.

On a steamy late-summer weekend, Chicago Sun-Times reporters rode along with three shifts of officers to get an up-close look at what they are doing to try to keep a lid on violent crime in Englewood and to get a glimpse of what they’re up against.

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