The Crusader Newspaper Group

Top cop rolls out anti-violence plan to deter crime 

In an effort to prevent a violent summer, Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling and Mayor Brandon Johnson unveiled an anti-crime program complete with the addition of three helicopters and an array of technical equipment designed to apprehend criminals faster, including youth ages 11 and older who he vowed to arrest. 

  Joining Snelling at a press conference on Friday, April 12, at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan, were Mayor Brandon Johnson, Chief of Police Antoinette Ursitti, and Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd). Snelling rolled out an anti-violence plan he hopes will help prevent another crime-ridden summer. 

  Asked his plans for this summer, given the history of hundreds of youths taking over the Loop area and causing criminal damage, Snelling said his personnel detect anticipated teen gatherings and get resources there before their arrival. 

Since last April when there was the last large gathering of teens, Snelling said, “We’ve been on top of it, but we don’t want to go overboard…. We want them to have fun, but those who decide they want to go into downtown and create havoc, attack people, fight, take guns into these locations, destroy property, we’re going to arrest you. We are not going to tolerate you.”  

He urged youth to have fun, but if they destroy property, he said, “We will take action.” 

  Vowing to hold the robbers and perpetrators of motor vehicle thefts accountable for their actions, Ursitti said the anti-violence summer plan includes license plates readers, podcasts, and a communications network to relay criminal activities to officers for swift arrests. 

  The technical equipment will enable police to “identify, collect and preserve video evidence that is crucial to our investigations,” she told reporters. Ursitti urged the public to anonymously report crime by texting CPDTIP.COM. 

  “Everyone deserves to feel safe walking down the street, commuting to work and enjoying life in our wonderful city,” said Johnson. “The key to making that vision a reality is collaboration.” He is working on bringing more jobs, affordable housing and access to schools and healthcare for residents. 

  “It is no surprise to anyone that the most disinvested areas of our city also experience the highest number of crimes as well as violence. With sustained investments to address the root of crime on behalf of all residents, we will build a safer Chicago,” Johnson said. 

 The mayor emphasized that city government and the police alone cannot build a safer city. “Everyone must join in this collective effort,” Johnson stated. 

  When asked by the Chicago Crusader how it feels having to arrest 11-year-olds and older, charging them with armed robberies and sometimes murder, Snelling said, “It is disturbing.” He questioned the whereabouts of the parents of children who are committing crimes. 

On April 12, 2024, police arrested a 23-year-old male, charging him with one felony count of robbery, armed with a firearm and two felony counts for receiving, possessing, and selling a stolen vehicle. Police also arrested an 11-year-old in a carjacking case. He was arrested on suspicion of felony aggravated vehicular carjacking. 

  “When these young children are engaging in violent acts, today’s juvenile robber or shooter is tomorrow’s adult murderer. We have to do something to catch our children very young so that they don’t engage in these types of acts,” Snelling said. 

 “When we do catch them, we have to have those services to deal with a 12-year-old we know we are not going to incarcerate so that they don’t go back and become repeat offenders.” 

  Snelling said law enforcement has the technology to gather information, but the next thing needed is to have a “focused mission that has to be targeted starting with stolen vehicles. We know that stolen vehicles are being used in secondary crimes like robberies. We have close to 3,000 less stolen vehicles this year than we had last year. 

  “If we can get a handle on stolen vehicles, we can get a handle on how these crimes are being committed,” Snelling told reporters.  

“We are also looking at areas, locations and times when these robberies occur.  We want to make sure that we have the right personnel to deal with these situations.” 

  Referring to the three helicopters the Police Department is acquiring, Snelling said it will help follow these stolen cars without endangering the public and “without engaging in a full-blown pursuit.” He is holding his officers accountable. 

 On community engagement, Snelling said as his officers talk with community people, they will provide them with information on how they can avoid being victimized and how they report crimes. The key, he said, is to be focused. 

Alderman Dowell said she works closely with several groups in her ward that mentor youth and said it is important to provide activities for them that could minimize violence. 

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