The Rise and Fall of Community Policing in Chicago
"Community policing has long been a matter of life and death in Chicago.
When it's worked, researchers have found that communities of color
report less fear of crime and better relations with the police, which
can translate into improved crime prevention and fewer shootings. And in
a year when shootings have skyrocketed and community trust of the
police has been severely damaged by the release of a series of videos
capturing police shootings, it's been touted by politicians as a
powerful crime-fighting strategy.
'Chicago is where the whole idea of community policing began,' Mayor
Rahm Emanuel said in a speech on police accountability on December 9,
2015, just two weeks after the release of the Laquan McDonald video
rocked the city and sparked a crisis in police-community relations. 'It
remains the best and most comprehensive approach we have in changing the
everyday conditions that breed crime and violence and then breed
But nine months after that speech, an analysis by City Bureau and the Reader
finds CAPS in crisis. Chicago's once-trailblazing community policing
program has been hollowed out by years of budget cuts and restructuring.
Stretched thin, the police department no longer has the money necessary
to reach out to the community and quickly follow up on citizen
complaints... CAPS today is an uneven patchwork of programs around the city. The
result has been the destruction of the trust and goodwill the police
department had built in the early years of CAPS."