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Cops Retooling Gang Strategy

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The Chicago Police Department is going to "retool our gang strategy from top to bottom," Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday. The department's new initiative will include a gang audit that merges two kinds of intelligence data into a central repository for the beat officer.

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The Chicago Police Department is going to "retool our gang strategy from top to bottom," Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday.

His hastily-called afternoon press conference came after a particularly violent weekend in the city: 46 people were shot, nine fatally. One of the dead is a 6-year-old girl who got caught in the crossfire.

"What we have in Chicago is a very unique gang problem, and quite frankly, virtually every one of these incidents over the weekend is gang-related in some fashion," said McCarthy. "Given the proliferation of gangs, guns and the violence that they cause, especially to innocent bystanders ... we can and must do more to stem that violence."

McCarthy said the department's new strategy will include a gang audit that merges two kinds of intelligence data into a central repository for the beat officer.

"Some of it exists in some of our databases, and most of it exists right in the minds of the officers on the street," he said. "The only way that we can get in front of those incidents is to sit down, do an audit of [trying to determine] who are our gang members, what turfs do they claim is theirs and who are they feuding with."

The result is expected to be an ability to "connect the dots" fast between one gang incident and a rival's retaliation.

"What we haven't done well enough is get in front of the retaliatory shootings to prevent the next one," he said.

The superintendent said he fears that Chicago's gang activity is growing at a rate to rival Los Angeles. The statistics are at an alarming level: 408 shootings and 94 homicides so far this year compared to 296 shootings and 66 homicides the same time last year.

"We know what's going on. We're putting pieces in place to make sure that we can stem this tide," he said.

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