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Chicago Launches Initiative to Reduce City's Homicide Rate

June 25, 2003|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — Mayor Richard M. Daley and police officials, worried about a rising homicide rate, announced a plan Tuesday they said will make police "as nimble and quick" as the street gangs they're fighting.

Chicago had the nation's highest murder rate among big cities last year, and the problem appears to be worsening this year. Through May, the city had 236 homicides -- 11% more than the same period in 2002. The city had 646 murders last year, second to the more populated Los Angeles, which had 653. New York was third with 580.

Under the plan, the police department will form an elite unit of 100 officers to saturate high-crime areas and will reassign some desk officers to street duty.

"We believe there will be a greater reduction of violence because of greater police presence," Daley said.

However, Police Union President Mark Donahue said the plan was a "temporary Band-Aid response" to the increased number of killings.

The plan, to be implemented over the next few weeks, focuses on curbing the gang violence.

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