A new pilot program in Chicago has police knocking on the doors of would-be criminals, hoping to alert them of stiff penalties for gun crimes and warn them they are being watched.
The "custom notifications" are part of a comprehensive policing strategy aimed at reducing violence and crime by targeting specific groups of individuals allegedly committing a majority of an area's criminal activity.
"Much of the city’s violence is perpetrated by a small group of individuals, and we’re putting these individuals on notice," Director of Chicago Police News Affairs Adam Collins said in a statement.
Chicago Police began hand-delivering letters from the district commander on Friday to targeted individuals with the "highest propensity for violence."
The letter reminds them of the consequences of crime and "puts them on notice."
"If they commit a crime we will seek the strongest penalties available," Collins said in a statement.
It also outlines opportunities for social services and a "path out of the life of crime."
It's the latest part of an ongoing police strategy to stem Chicago violence. Among the most recent shootings, 12 men were killed and at least 60 others were wounded during the Fourth of July weekend, including two boys shot and injured within hours at city parks.
Chicago Police say shootings are down year-over-year, though. Numbers released this month by police indicate a 25 percent drop in shootings and a 14 percent drop in overall crime in the first half of this year compared to the first six months of last year. Murders are down too, police say, by 29 percent.
"Through a close partnership with the community and our comprehensive policing strategy there have been significant drops in murders, shootings and overall crime this year," Supt. Garry McCarthy said, "but it's progress and not victory because one shooting or murder is unacceptable."
The program is reportedly set to begin in the city's Austin neighborhood.
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