Your NPR news source

Cops May Need Stronger Community Links

SHARE Cops May Need Stronger Community Links

The Chicago Police Department is taking steps to turn back an increase in the city’s annual murder rate. But some criminologists say the efforts won’t accomplish much without stronger links to the community.

Unofficial tallies for 2008 put the number of homicides in Chicago around 509. That’s up roughly 15 percent from 2007.

The police department says this month it’ll deploy a new mobile unit focused on gangs. The department is also planning to add computer systems, update gang maps and buy thousands of assault rifles.

Loyola University criminal justice Professor Arthur Lurigio says those efforts won’t be enough.

LURIGIO: All policing, like all politics, is local. The police need to work with the community, one beat at a time. They’re going to hit a wall unless they bring the citizens on board.

Lurigio says Chicago should beef up the community-policing program CAPS, short for Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy.

Some criminologists say the enforcement needs to be coordinated with social programs.

The Latest