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Murder Rate Soars Under New Chicago Mayor

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Associated Press — Chicago’s mayor and police superintendent publicly defended their new gang-fighting strategy Monday amid growing criticism that the changes are failing and a big reason why the city’s homicide rate has soared this year.

After weeks of media reports about Chicago homicides — which so far are up nearly 38 percent from last year — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy defiantly said during a news conference that the gang strategies in place before McCarthy arrived were the ones that failed, not the new ones.

More beat officers are now on the streets and staying in specific areas, replacing the large, specialized units that would temporarily drop into crime-ridden areas. Emanuel and McCarthy said they have no plans to change that strategy, and the mayor announced Monday that he’s devoting another $4 million to tear down vacant buildings where gang members live and store guns and drugs.

The old tactic of flooding high-crime areas with teams of hundreds of officers for a short period of time, then moving the teams to other areas, was “like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound,” McCarthy said. “We’re not repairing anything by doing that.”

Emanuel, who has made attacking the city’s street gangs a cornerstone of his administration, was equally dismissive of the effectiveness of those citywide units.

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