Increased force to space ratio decreases Chicago murders
Hundreds of Chicago police officers are hitting the streets on overtime every night in dangerous neighborhoods, the latest tactic by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration to reduce killings in a city dogged by its homicide rate and heartbreaking stories about honor students and small children caught in the crossfire.
The decision by Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy last month to put small armies of officers working overtime in specific "hot zones" corresponds with a notable drop in homicides in the nation's third-largest city in February and March. But the latest "Violence Reduction Initiative" raises concerns about whether the policy is sustainable for the financially struggling city and whether it could further strain officers working long hours at a stressful and dangerous job.
If it continues, the tactic would cost millions of dollars each month — putting the one initiative on pace to exceed the department's entire overtime budget by fall.
Some Chicago officials even wonder if the decline in violence has less to do with the extra officers and more to do with colder weather compared to last winter, when a spike in murders generated national attention.
...This is similar to a suggestion I made several weeks ago. It is similar to the surge of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The increased force to space ratio makes it difficult for the perps to move to contact and to have an avenue of retreat. They are therefore not committing as many murders and other crimes. Consider the ability to eliminate crime on a particular block by flooding the zone in that block. This is taking place on a broader area. If they keep it up they can sharply reduce crime and eventually be able to reduce the patrols.