*It’s no secret that street crime in Chicago is off the scale. It’s bad and getting worse. But what should be done?
Now some a re asking what if we’ve been looking in the wrong places all along? It seems the Windy City is turning its focus away from “bad neighborhoods” and toward the individuals and gangs responsible for most of the violence.
Duh, that’s a novel, obvious idea writes The Daily Beast’s David Kennedy.
In direct response to the street scene driving the violence, Chicago’s police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, is working with criminologists and other researchers to spearhead a new response that could represent the next major advance in how America polices serious violence.
At its core, the new approach focuses not on crime “hot spots,” the traditional target of law enforcement, but on “hot people”—the small number of individuals who account for the vast majority of the crime and murders.
To understand why the “hot people” approach has the potential to be so transformative, it’s important to understand that Chicago’s homicide and shooting problem is overwhelmingly a gang problem. Both victims and offenders tend to have extensive criminal records, and the Chicago Police Department reports that 77 percent of this year’s dead were killed in incidents involving gang members on one or both sides of the gun. It is also one of African-American victimization: blacks make up about one third of the city’s population, but more than three quarters of its homicide victims.
The national numbers are painfully similar: research in city after city shows that gangs and similar criminal groups—drug crews and the like—are at the heart of homicide: groups collectively making up less than half of 1 percent of a city’s population are regularly associated with three quarters or so of all killings. And black men constitute about 6 percent of the population but around 40 percent of murder victims.
Read/learn more at The Daily Beast.