Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s response to another violent weekend in Chicago is police crackdown on Greater Grand Crossing, the neighborhood where most of the weekend homicides and shootings occured. Three of the nine homicides over the weekend and roughly 40 percent of the 32 shootings took place in Greater Grand Crossing.
The mayor credits heavy police presence as a crime deterrant in two other dangerous areas in the city and apparently believes that patrols by police officers in the roughly 16-square-block area will reduce violence (and bury crime headlines and homicides statistics).
Chicago has reported 52 homicides so far this month, 17 more than August 2011.
Draconian measures, however, do not work nearly as well as the mayor would like. The offenders and gangs will temporarily dissipate or move their operations elsewhere.
Engaging community leaders may be a far more effective and long-lasting crime prevention tactic than deploying heavy police force; legal resources and moral engagement can effectively be used to combat gangs and gang culture, rather than targeting individual offenders.
The mayor, the city, the authorities and the communities should find common ground and share resources, faith and courage to include the criminals themselves as part of the solution.
– TYO / George Zorbas