Despite weekend shootings, McCarthy says strategies `working`

Despite weekend shootings, McCarthy says strategies `clearly working`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday that his crime-fighting strategies are "clearly working," even though he was "disappointed" at the number of shootings across the city during the long July 4th weekend.

SEE: At least 10 dead, 55 wounded in holiday weekend shootings

"There's still an unacceptable amount of violence in this city," McCarthy said, speaking to reporters at Seventh District headquarters in Englewood. The Chicago Sun-Times tallied a total of 38 separate shooting incidents from Wednesday evening through Sunday afternoon, including 10 homicides.

McCarthy defended his policies, saying there's been a 25 percent reduction in shootings from last year, and a 29 percent drop in the murder rate. Through the end of June, there were 188 murders, compared to 260 at the same point last year. For shootings, there were 849 this year, compared to 1117 at the end of June 2012.

McCarthy's strategy involves weekly meetings with police brass to review crime stats and patterns and deploy resources to prevent retaliation shootings.

He said, as he often does at press briefings, that tougher penalties for those illegally possessing a firearm would help reduce the violence.

UIC Political Science Professor and former alderman Dick Simpson says some of McCarthy's strategies are reasonable, but they aren't doing enough to change the public perception of Chicago as dangerous.

"It is not easy there is no silver bullet or simple solution one thing that will fix the problem," Simpson says. "It used to be the national media paid attention to the New York murders, because the New York numbers have gone down drastically, they now focus on Chicago."

McCarthy also said Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues to back him.

"I'm absolutely positive that I enjoy the mayor's confidence," McCarthy said. "He wants to know what's going on, just like I want to know."

If McCarthy is not worried about his job, Simpson believes the crime numbers could make the superintendent a statistic.

"I think the numbers need to go down over the next six months or that the mayor will have no choice but to replace the Superintendent with someone who has a strategy that looks to be more effective in dealing with this problem," says Simpson.

The police union spokesman says McCarthy could be in jeopardy sooner than that if things blow up at North Avenue Beach or Michigan Ave when the weather finally starts feeling like summer. The union continues to point to a lack of manpower as an underlying problem.

McCarthy did announce a new initiative Monday that will involved enforcing curfew in city parks, so we don't see what happened last week when a 5-year-old was shot in a park after midnight.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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