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Chicago alderman calls for united front in calming violent crime rise

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(The Center Square) – Chicago Ald. Chris Taliferro is calling for a united front in countering a trend that has seen homicides across the city jump by nearly 50% over the last decade, with much of the violence targeting young people.

“We have to build a better relationship between our public and our police,” Taliaferro told The Center Square. “That’s something that we’ve worked on for decades. I was a new police officer as we ushered in CAPS, which is our alternative policing strategy program. When we ushered that in, there was a whole lot of emphasis placed on community engagement, community participation.”

Of the 625 murders recorded in 2023, Chicago Police Department data shows that nearly one in five, or 111, involved victims under the age of 19. At the same time, overall violent crime in the city is at a 10-year high with arrests in those cases dropping to just 11%.

With much of the violence taking place in the inner-city, including the South Side neighborhood he calls home, Taliaferro said he wants to see every tool available being used in the name of keeping peace.

“We have to move into a better model of technology-based policing, and not get rid of technology that serves to help solve crimes,” said Taliaferro, who has been one of the loudest critics of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s recent decision to end the city’s contract with gunfire detection company ShotSpotter.

“I don’t want to move in a backward direction, and taking away any resource that our police department has to help solve crime … and save lives, I think would tend to put us in a position of moving backward rather than forward,” he added.

With vehicle thefts that include carjackings and robberies also being up by more than 30% in 2023, Taliaferro adds he’s hopeful Johnson’s ongoing investment in the city’s youth will pay dividends.

“I’m very supportive of Mayor Johnson and his approach to providing opportunities and resources to our youth,” Taliaferro said. “I think he’s placed a lot of emphasis on youth employment and youth engagement and I applaud him for that and making that a part of his 2024 budget is a win for our city.”

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