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Chicago will step up its efforts to diminish violent crime in the city, in the form of a specialized new unit that will use federal law as a crime-fighting weapon.
After a violent Easter weekend where 35 people were wounded, the youngest being an 11-year-old girl who was shot while leaving a park with a group of friends on Sunday evening, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said: “We’re all tired of it,” McCarthy told NBC Chicago.
The new unit, The Violent Crimes section, has 16 prosecutors on staff, said NBC Chicago. The unit was formed as part of a restructuring of the U.S. Attorney’s Chicago office, which consists of 160 prosecutors and has a budget of nearly $35 million. Members of the unit were pulled from the larger narcotics and gang unit.
Chicago spokesman Randall Samborn said "The change puts a circle around the words [violent crimes] and tells people in the office that their mission is to help with this right now," said Samborn, who added that this type of work has been done in the past, but not under its own name. "It allows them a better sense of being a defined unit."
Chicago's murder toll in 2013 fell 18% from a year earlier to 415, according to the police department. The 2013 tally was the lowest since 1965 in the nation's third-largest city, despite several high-profile shootings early in the year that drew national attention, said the Wall Street Journal.