Chicago mayor to unveil crime fighting plans amid wave of violence

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 22, 2016 3:04 PM

By Timothy Mclaughlin

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected on Thursday to detail his plans to fight the city's high crime using what he has described as a dual approach to improving public safety: more programs for young people and more police.

Over 500 people have been killed so far this year in the United States' third-largest city. The police department is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice as a result of a number of high-profile incidents including the killing of a black teenager by a white police officer in 2014.

The city and its police are struggling to rebuild community relations.

Emanuel is due to unveil his plans at Malcolm X College in Chicago at 6 p.m. (CT).

On Wednesday, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said another 970 police officers would be hired over the next two years.

Johnson said police "have to do better."

Emanuel has resisted calls to hire more police, choosing instead to pay overtime for existing members of the force. Chicago is facing a severe budget deficit, a large unfunded pension liability and declining credit ratings.

Speaking at a job fair on Wednesday, Emanuel said he believes that programs that create jobs and mentorships could offer at-risk young people an alternative to gangs.

"The Vice Lords are ready to be a mentor. Is Chicago ready to be a mentor? The Gangster Disciples is ready to be a role model. Is Chicago ready to be a role model?," Emanuel said, referencing some of the city's most notorious gangs.

(Reporting by Timothy McLaughlin)