Facing criticism concerning Chicago's soaring homicide rate thus far this year, Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday announced a new "wraparound" crime-fighting strategy on the eve of his one-year anniversary as the city's mayor.
The strategy, Emanuel explained alongside Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in a church in Chicago's West Pullman neighborhood, aims to follow crackdowns on gang-infested areas of the city with city services, such as street light repairs, graffiti removal, street and vacant lot cleanups and job training, CBS Chicago reports.
"It is a coordinated strategy. Rather than spreading the peanut butter too thin across the city, concentrating it when you clear an area of a gang so it’s not just cleared temporarily and ... two days later, the gangs are back," the mayor said, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
"Once we make arrests, and we eliminate a narcotics organization, we are committed to holding onto that turf, to that territory, to squeeze out the drug market and the violence," McCarthy said of the strategy, which he said has already led to the arrest of "more than 50" alleged gang members, according to CBS.
The mayor's announcement arrived on the heels of a Chicago Tribune/WGN poll, released on Monday, which showed that less than half -- only 45 percent -- of Chicago voters approve of how the mayor has handled crime in the city. Weighing on their minds likely is the fact that city's homicide rate is up 53 percent and shootings are up almost 20 percent in the first four months of 2012, though overall crime is down.
Breaking down the poll results further, only only 37 percent of black voters approved of the mayor's crime strategies, much less than the 53 percent approval and 45 percent approval rates among white and Latino voters respectively.
Speaking Tuesday, Emanuel also criticized the city's community policing (CAPS) program, which he described as not "fully engaged" under the previous mayoral administration, ABC Chicago reports.
Last week, more than 50 Chicago women who previously lost children to violence rallied against the city's high crime rate. Over the weekend, shootings and other violent crimes killed five and wounded nearly 20 people citywide.
Among the shooting victims were two teenage males -- one 14 and the other 15 -- who were both shot, but survived, in separate incidents over the weekend.
Despite an initiative by the Chicago Police Department to up police resources in some of the city's most violent districts, homicides in the city have soared -- and were previously up 60 percent during the first quarter of 2012.