Violence in the Chicago’s troubled Englewood police district has dropped dramatically in 2017, with shootings falling 44 percent and homicides down 45 percent. It’s only one year, experts, cops and even residents caution. Still, it’s happening in Englewood, whose name has long been synonymous with violence, gang warfare, poverty and despair.
Violence in the Chicago’s troubled Englewood police district has dropped dramatically in 2017, with shootings falling 44 percent and homicides down 45 percent over 2016. It’s only one year, experts, cops and even residents caution. Still, it’s happening in Englewood, a neighborhood whose name has long been synonymous with violence, gang warfare, poverty and despair, the Chicago Tribune reports. During the violent 1990s, the district emerged as a bloody territorial battleground for large street gangs such as the Gangster Disciples. Since then, those super gangs have splintered into smaller factions, changing the dynamic perhaps, but not the outcome. Since 2000, there have been more than 4,800 shootings in Englewood.
This year, the neighborhood is leading the city in declines in both shootings and homicides. In fact, in the past 17 years, shootings in Englewood have never been as low as they are today. Through Nov. 27, there were 193 shootings, compared with 248 five years ago and 398 in 2000. What’s changed? City officials point to the rollout this year of one of the first department technology-driven intelligence centers as key. The $1.5 million investment brings the latest crime prediction software and technology. Data analysts and police huddle daily to plan where to deploy officers. As the violent summer months wound down and the numbers held steady, a feeling spread across Englewood that the community was changing. One expert called the lower crime numbers “notable.” He urged caution, pointing out that homicides through mid-November remained above totals posted in 2013, 2014 and 2015. “It looks as though the resources devoted to the area nearly eliminated the big jump in homicides in 2016,” said criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri at St. Louis. “The challenge now is to sustain the attention in order to reduce the still quite large number of homicides the area has experienced over the past several years.”