(TNS) — In their second public appearance together, Mayor Lori Lightfoot; Charlie Beck, the newly appointed Chicago police interim superintendent; and outgoing Superintendent Eddie Johnson walked through the technology center at the Englewood Police District on the South Side on Saturday afternoon.
Lightfoot announced Friday that Beck, retired chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, would lead the city’s Police Department while she searches for a replacement for Johnson, who on Thursday announced he will retire.
When he headed the LAPD, Beck lent his chief of staff to the Chicago Police Department to help install the technology centers, called Strategic Decision Support Centers, which launched in early 2017 after the most violent year the city experienced since the 1990s.
“When he did that, that meant a lot to us,” Johnson told reporters during the event on Saturday, noting that the district, in the South Side’s Englewood neighborhood, was among the first to get a technology center.
The centers use data and technology to analyze shootings and better predict where they may occur.
Johnson touted what he said was a 52% reduction in violent crime in the Englewood District since it launched the technology center. Other districts that have SDSCs, though, like the Harrison Police District on the West Side, are still struggling with increases in fatal shootings, according to Chicago Police Department data.
“These crime reductions are absolutely a result of collaboration between LAPD and Chicago,” Johnson said.
Beck said he believes Los Angeles and Chicago are “similar cities” with similar crime problems.
Lightfoot said though Beck will only be “here for a small amount of time," she believes he will have an impact in helping reduce violent crime. She said he oversaw crime reductions in black and brown neighborhoods in Los Angeles through partnering with the community.
“You can’t do that if you don’t have trust in the community," Lightfoot said.
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