Chicago police announced they will be rolling out a new program to report crime. The announcement follows a slew of violence over the holiday weekend, and police say they hope the new program will help prevent such violence in the future. The program allows witnesses to submit completely anonymous reports to police offers. The officer sent to the scene isn’t given the identity of the tipster, which prevents any criminals involved from finding out who reported them.
The gang culture in inner city areas is strictly opposed to tattletales, and many are afraid to report violence or other crimes they witness for fear of retribution. This move is part of a larger attempt to tighten relationships with city residents and keep them safe. Another of the police department’s recent moves involved placing officers in areas where they will get to know local residents and build trust with them. The department hopes citizens will learn to trust the police and feel comfortable reporting crime, but they still have to overcome the fear of “snitching” instilled by local criminals.
The anonymous tip programs are being rolled out to three high crime areas. Citizens can submit tips to the police using their cell phones, and can even send in pictures, something the department hopes will help protect officers by giving them additional information about a crime scene.
Another program the department is starting aims to facilitate communication the other way – from the police to the community. The police will release important updates and community messages via Twitter, including reports of missing persons.
Garry McCarthy, superintendent of Chicago police, conducted the press conference where this was announced. He concluded by revealing some statistics indicating they had reduced the homicide rate year-over-year for this area. So far this year there have been 76 less homicides than at this point last year, and around 200 less shooting incidents. He also referenced the gun control debate, and suggested that the current training required to carry a concealed weapon isn’t nearly thorough enough. Chicago has been one of the central points of this debate due to the high crime rate. Overall the conference bore positive news and suggested the police department is moving in the right direction and seeing success in lowering crime.