Police on overtime target 'hot zones'

March 4, 2013

(AP/file)
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says the new strategy is based on his work in New York City.

In a press conference Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the historically low crime rate in February, was due in part to a new strategy that places additional police in “hot zones” across the city. 

McCarthy would not share the exact location of the areas. He did say the areas only compose 2 percent of Chicago’s geography, but contain about 10 percent of the cities crime.

The idea of deploying officer to “hot spots” has been used in the past. McCarthy actually shut down the mobile task force, who responded to hot spots, shortly after Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office. 

But McCarthy says tactic is better because of it’s use of historical data. The area’s were chosen based on three years of violent crime data, with a focus on the most recent year. 

Each zone will have an additional 20 police officers, for a total of 200 additional officers on the street.  

“The idea is you can’t walk around the area without seeing a police officer,” said McCarthy. 

McCarthy is accomplishing the increased staffing using overtime.

Some Chicago residents and community leaders, as well as the  Fraternal order of Police, have critiqued McCarthy for not growing the number of police. He said they are hiring more police. But in the meantime, overtime was cheaper than additional staff and could be implemented more quickly.