'Operation Wake Up' calls on Chicago residents to help stem the violence

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It’s shaping up to be an extremely violent year in Chicago.

Already, there has been double the number of murders so far this year compared to last year with 94 people killed. Last year as of this time, 47 people were killed. The Chicago Tribune also says the number of people shot has doubled to 420.

In Englewood Monday night, police were calling on residents to help them stem the violence. The gathering was called ‘Operation Wake Up,’ which is a community policing initiative that is all about getting more people involved in their neighborhood so they can help police reduce violence.

In Englewood, a 3-year-old boy was the latest shooting statistic in which a hail of bullets fired at the father of the 3-year-old instead hit the child in his leg. That shooting has now become a call to action for people in the community.

It was also a call to do more than complain about the violence to one another.

“It doesn't matter if you just want something to happen, it does not matter if you say that you want something to happen,” said Glen Brooks of CAPS.

Instead, it was a plea to join with police to make a difference that drew people to the street corner just down the block from the shooting scene.

“Well I hear a lot of shootings, and I get really scared because sometimes the kids are playing outside and you don't know what's going to happen you know, people just get crazy,” said Englewood resident Cristina Garcia.

But it was also enough to get Garcia to come out with her three kids, so she could learn about how she can help. Residents welcomed the police and rejected the notion that meetings like this don't make a difference.

“We see that, you know, the law-enforcement, the police officers they care and they want to better the community in any way that they can, but you know, we all have to do our part,” said Englewood resident Dedrick Rent.

Part of the benefit is helping restore community trust in police by letting people see the officers charged with serving and protecting them.

“You know only time will tell what can come from it but I'd much rather see what's going on here now and see nothing going on at all,” said new Englewood resident Robert Berry.

The most recent crime stats (through Valentine’s Day) for the 7th District show murders have tripled from 2-to-6 and shootings have nearly doubled from 13-to-24.

However, this has been a milder winter than last so that could be a factor.