GOP Billionaire Helps Chicago Anti-Crime Centers

Ken Griffin, listed as Illinois’ richest man, is donating $10 million to help establish “strategic decision support centers” in high-crime police districts. There, police officers and University of Chicago analysts crunch gunshot data to determine where best to deploy cops.

Chicago’s five major sports teams pledged a total of $1 million late last year to bankroll violence prevention programs. Now Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin — listed as Illinois’ richest man — is raising the ante, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Griffin is donating $10 million toward the city’s efforts to reduce gun violence. Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged he and Griffin are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Griffin is Gov. Bruce Rauner’s biggest contributor and this week, Emanuel blasted the Republican governor for vetoing a gun store licensing bill that was pushed by the mayor. Emanuel said he and Griffin see eye-to-eye on the need to improve Chicago. Griffin said he hopes his donation will inspire other civic leaders to join the efforts “to make our city safer.” Griffin is founder and CEO of the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel.

His latest donation will largely support a partnership of the Chicago Police Department and University of Chicago Crime Lab, which last year  opened Strategic Decision Support Centers in high-crime police districts. In the support centers, which cost about $1.5 million each, officers and university analysts crunch gunshot data to determine where to best deploy cops. Information from gunshot detectors and surveillance cameras is displayed on large monitors. Officers have real-time access to the information via cellphone and in-car computers, alerting them to the spot where a shooting occurred. The police department partly credits a recent decline in gun violence across the city to the support centers. Through March, homicides were down 17 percent and the number of shooting victims decreased 30 percent compared with the same period of 2017.