Crime Lab Strategic Decision Support Centers

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Chicago experienced 769 homicides in 2016, nearly a 60% increase from 2015. This violence destroys individual lives, devastates entire communities, and threatens the future and vitality of the City itself. To combat this violence, starting in February 2017 the Chicago Police Department (CPD) built Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs) in the 007th and 011th districts that bring together police officers and analysts from the Crime Lab to integrate crime intelligence, data analysis, and technology. Based on the early successes in 007 and 011, the Department expanded this strategy, opening SDSCs in eleven more districts by January 2018. Throughout the expansion of the SDSCs, the Crime Lab has embedded analysts, trained CPD analysts, and provided technical assistance around implementation.

This initiative represents a new approach to gun violence prevention that is designed to help police commanders target their resources to the right place at the right time, and be more responsive to communities' needs. SDSCs are rooms in which a suite of technology, district leadership, and analysts trained by the University of Chicago Crime Lab work together to develop localized crime reduction strategies using data analysis, human intelligence and input from the community. These efforts are tailored to meet the unique needs of each community, with community concerns incorporated into the district's daily planning process.

In 2017, Chicago experienced 764 fewer shooting incidents (-22%) relative to 2016. In District 007, historically one of the most violent districts in the city, these impressive gains are promising not just compared to 2016—the district experienced the second lowest level of shootings since CPD began storing this data electronically. These successes are critical to restoring public confidence in law enforcement.

Reducing gun violence in our most violent districts is critical to keeping residents safe and to helping our city thrive. Through the development of localized crime reduction strategies, tailored to meet the needs of the community, the SDSCs hold promise for leveraging the data, technology, and human intelligence available to CPD to make real progress on public safety and to promote police-community trust.


SDSCs in the Media

Chicago Tribune: "As shootings and homicides drop in Englewood, a new optimism grows"

BBC: "Chicago goes high-tech in search of answers to gun crime surge"

Chicago Tribune: "A high-tech ray of hope in the fight against gun violence in Englewood"

Wall Street Journal: "Chicago tries high-tech approach to curb violence"


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Innovation for a Safe Chicago