With High-Tech Help, There’s Been Less Bloodshed in Chicago This Year

Better relationships between police, anti-violence workers, residents, and community-based organizations has helped reduce violence in Chicago. Technology is also boosting the impact, with Strategic Decision Support Centers embedded in Chicago police districts that use predictive software to help police respond more quickly and proactively to shootings. In Englewood, using the technology in partnership with other community policing strategies has reduced shootings and homicides dramatically, the Chicago Tribune reports, but results continue to be mixed on the West Side of the city.

(Chicago Police Department Cmdr. Kenneth) Johnson does credit some of the reduction in violence over the first half to inroads that officers have made with anti-violence outreach workers and citizens in the communities who long distrusted the police.

Still, he acknowledged that fully winning over the community will take a lot more time.

“This trust, it’s not an easily won thing,” he said. “Trust is easily broken and very difficult to win.”

For many years, Bishop Vesta Dixon, pastor of Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church in West Englewood, said he invited police without success to a back-to-school event. Last summer two officers attended.

Dixon said the contact promises to help break down barriers and fears — on both sides.

“Let them see you, not with your gun out, not stopping them,” Dixon said in his 59th Street office. “But see you as a friend.”

This is a post related to the Street Outreach, Support Services and Jobs strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.