(Newsroom America) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Monday defended their strategies for combating gang violence in the city, amid a rising homicide rate and charges that their policies aren't working.
The homicide rate has soared 38 percent this year alone in the city, most of it attributed to gang-related shootings. When he took office, Emanuel said one of his priorities was to fight gang violence and reduce homicides.
During a news conference, Emanuel and McCarthy said they've changed a number of police procedures in the past few months, including putting more beat cops on the streets in traditional high-crime areas rather than flooding such areas with hundreds of officers for a short period of time, a policy McCarthy said was "like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound."
"We're not repairing anything by doing that," he added.
Emanuel agreed, saying, "I don't think coming in, swatting something down and letting it come back in two weeks is strengthening a community. What it does is build up cynicism."
In addition, Emanuel said the city would spend $4 million to demolish abandoned, crumbling buildings in high-crime areas, to deny gangs places to congregate, live and store weapons and drugs.
Other steps include examining the business licenses of liquor stores and other places where gangs hang out.
Chicago has averaged about 450 homicides annually since 2005, half of the 900 or so murders in the early 1990s. But McCarthy said the current rate is still too high.
"That's not success and I'm not willing to take it as success," said McCarthy, who spent many years as a police officer in New York City.
Added Emanuel: "Gangs will not find shelter in the city of Chicago."
© 2012 Newsroom America.