CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Cook County Sheriff’s Officers had an impressive show of force Tuesday night in a violence-plagued Chicago neighborhood.
In response to a spike in shootings and murders, an alderman in the Back of the Yards neighborhood asked for the sheriff's help.
The command center was just set up Tuesday. The plan is to have a visible and not so visible presence in the neighborhood for the next four to six weeks to try to help combat the violence that has resulted in murders being up 160 percent, and shootings nearly 60 percent.
Undercover sheriff's police were on patrol Tuesday night getting the lay of the district and gathering intelligence on trouble spots and trouble makers.
Gang and drug teams, along with VICE and fugitive warrant units, are going to be making their presence felt in a joint effort with Chicago Police. The target is gangs that have been ratcheting up their activities and making the Back of the Yards a hot spot for violence this year.
“Right now things are getting to the point where we have shootings almost every day, we've had a rash of arsons that may be connected,” said Alderman Raymond Lopez.
One of those arsons took out three buildings on one block, and another caused heavy damage to a home a few blocks away.
For people who call this community home, seeing the sheriff's command center set up on 47th Street is a very welcoming sight.
“Well, I think it's a good thing because the streets do need to be cleaned up. There's too much gang activity, too much violence going on, we have a lot of young ones we have to look out for,” said concerned resident Eric Kellum.
Back of the Yards is the third different neighborhood that the sheriff's department has worked in so far this year. It’s part of an ongoing relationship with CPD that helps put extra resources in areas where they are needed.
“One of the advantages we have is when we're out here, our patrol officers, we're not tied to a radio, we don't have to respond to radio calls for service so we are able to strictly focus on what's happening on the street,” said Deputy Chief Kevin Ruel.
Alderman Ray Lopez had requested the help three weeks ago. He admits this is not the solution, but part of it.
However, some residents are skeptical about how successful this battle against gangbangers will be.
“These guys, they're way too far into what they do already, and it's a good effort, appreciate it but I think it's all Band-Aid on a big open wound,” said concerned resident Lee Baron.
The sheriff's department told FOX 32 they will have between 80 and 100 officers from the various enforcement units working from the early morning hours until after midnight. They will be looking for parole or probation violations, along with a focus on those gang bangers on the police departments list of most likely to shoot or get shot.