New police academy graduates are increasingly being used to patrol high crime areas on foot in an effort to quell the city's gang violence, police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday.
The strategy of putting more officers in certain areas -- impact zones -- is one previously used in New York City, where McCarthy was previously a high-ranking official.
“Residents in the prioritized zones will not just see more officers in patrol cars, they’ll see Chicago police officers literally walking their streets," he said. "I want to be very clear that when we see progress and reductions in violence, it’s not from any one thing we’re doing, it’s from everything we’re doing.'
The impact zones are comprised of new officers who've having gone through 12 weeks of field training. The first impact zone was the Gresham police district. New zones, as many as 20, will be created as new police academy graduates become available. The next class will graduate Tuesday.
A number of aldermen on Monday expressed approval of McCarthy’s plan, saying police presence on the streets will help with gang violence and win the trust of residents.
"It does make a difference when you see the police out patrolling. It has made a difference with me in the past because even in the merchants they see police up and down the street. They see them within the community," said Ald. Carrie Austin (34th).
Additionally, McCarthy continues to push for stricter gun laws and tougher sentencing for illegal gun use. He said two of the seven people shot in a Gresham night club last week had previous convictions for gun related offenses and still would have been in prison if the sentencing rules he wants would have been in effect.
"I can’t make it any clearer. The fact is since we take more guns off the street every year of any city in the United States, there's too many guns on the street," he said.
This year alone, officers have seized more than 1,550 guns, about 130 every week, the superintendent said.
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