Larry Snelling

What is Chicago's top safety threat? City's top cop reveals his answer

NBC Universal, Inc.

Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling has been on the job for nearly a month, and as he takes over the department, he has identified what he believes is the top safety threat facing the city.

Snelling, who was confirmed by the Chicago City Council on Sept. 27, has been tasked with combatting rises in numerous types of crime while also trying to reverse recent losses in personnel the department has experienced.

The superintendent sat down for an interview with NBC Chicago on Wednesday, and said that holding violent criminals to account is ultimately the number one thing that the department needs to focus on.

“Right now we have to find a way to hold violent criminals accountable,” he said. “That is our number one safety threat.

Snelling says that the department has stepped up efforts in recent years to tackle issues like gun violence, and while progress has been made, the need to ensure that arrests lead to crime reduction is still great.  

“We have an abundance of guns in the city. Our officers over the past three years have recovered a record-number of guns, made record-numbers of gun arrests, and still shootings and violence persist,” he said. “So we have to find a way to hold these most violent criminals accountable, because we know the robberies and things of that nature may lead to higher levels of crime.”

The superintendent also called upon the public to assist police in their efforts, saying that “stakeholders” ultimately hold the key to safety.

“Police can’t do it alone. We need everyone involved,” he said. “Everyone in this city has to be a stakeholder. If we want to see our city move forward, and what a beautiful city that it is, and we want to keep it that way, then everyone has to get involved.”

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