Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson today joined law enforcement, prosecutorial and criminal justice partners to launch the citywide GunStat Initiative, an unprecedented collaborative effort designed to track gun offenders from their arrest, prosecution, sentencing and ultimate release, in order to identify trends, strengths and address any weaknesses within the criminal justice system.
"Chicago's public leaders have a fundamental obligation to ensure that residents are safe and have uniform access to public safety services," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Today, we're bringing everyone to the table to build on our 'all-hands-on-deck' effort to create real, widespread and lasting public safety by addressing these issues head-on in a coordinated and collective effort."
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Office of Cook County Sheriff and other major partners, the new initiative will utilize all stakeholders’ internal data and statistics of criminal activity, prosecutorial decisions, and disposition outcomes to better focus on violent crime patterns across Chicago. This nationally-recognized coordinated model will not only foster better communication and evidence-gathering methods to build stronger cases in court against gun offenders but also target resources and violence prevention strategies in high-risk communities to curb crimes from taking place in the first place.
"Gun crimes continue to plague neighborhoods throughout Chicago," said Superintendent Johnson. "I want all of our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to share their experiences in an honest dialogue. I believe this conversation will offer perspective for everyone involved and hopefully, new strategies will emerge."
As part of the initiative, each agency will assign representatives with the ability to make coordinated resource, crime intervention, and policy decisions at a citywide level. With partners at all levels of government, this working group will examine statistics and case outcomes within the criminal justice system for select gun crime offenses in an effort to identify areas of improvement in the investigation, processing, court prosecution, and reentry of gun offenders.
"The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to improving public safety. I was proud to create the Gun Crimes Strategies Unit, where prosecutors work alongside the Chicago Police Department and other law enforcement partners, using data and intelligence to identify and prosecute violent offenders,” said State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “As the first prosecutor’s office in the country to publish detailed information on more than 350,000 felony offenders, the public now can see our efforts as we work to create more safe and just communities. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Chicago Police Department to improve our work while building trust through greater transparency.
Representatives will meet quarterly to hear reports on crime prevention and intervention strategies currently taking place at the district and area levels. This discussion will provide citywide criminal justice partners and leadership with the ability to understand localized crime prevention efforts and provide feedback as well as extend successful ideas and strategies to other parts of Chicago.
“Gun violence is tearing apart neighborhoods and destroying families across the city,” said Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart. “We owe it to the victims and the entire city to work together and constantly review and improve how our criminal justice system is impacting public safety.”
GunStat expands on CPD’s District Shooting Reviews, which bring CPD command staff together with prosecutorial and criminal justice partners to develop a specific action plan at select districts and areas. The new initiative adapts this approach citywide to not only see gun crime trends in the numbers but also hear the types of conflicts and individual cases that are driving violent crime throughout Chicago.
The citywide GunStat Initiative is modeled after a similar successful program piloted over a decade ago in Baltimore, Maryland. Practitioners at the Bureau of Justice Assistance have attributed this collaborative model to better case outcomes with gun offenders and a resulting reduction in gun violence.