Police Chief Says Sending Cops to Hot Spots is Bringing Murder Down

September 15, 2008

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Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis says his department's getting a handle on the city's rising number of murders. Not everyone agrees.

Murders in Chicago are up—double-digits up—over last year. That includes 12 Chicago Public Schools kids killed this summer alone. They're among more than 350 murder victims this year. But Weis says the numbers are coming down.

WEIS: In the month of July we had 62 homicides, in the month of August we had 41. And while one homicide is one too many, you do have to look at the fact that we've had a 34 percent reduction in homicides.

Weis says his plan to deploy special police units to crime hot spots is working. John Hagedorn's a criminal justice professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He's skeptical.

HAGEDORN: These kinds of flooding of areas and attacking hot spots often antagonizes people more than it builds relationships.

Hagedorn says there's no proof that more police power is the reason for fewer murders last month.

I'm Cate Cahan, Chicago Public Radio.