Officers from across US in Chicago for crime-fighting conference

CHICAGO -- Police leaders and prosecutors from 22 cities are in Chicago today to get some advice from the Chicago Police Department.

Crime fighters from across the country are at the University of Chicago Crime Lab for a 2-day conference. They'll be taking field trips to see the technology and meet the people that have helped Chicago reduce its gun violence over the past year.

Over the last few years Chicago has become the poster child for gun violence. Homicides surged in 2016 to 764, the highest number this city has seen in nearly 20 years.

The CPD asked Los Angeles police for some help implementing a successful crime fighting program which was proven there.

It consisted of technology, policing, and a collaboration with a local university to analyze data.

A year later, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says, “We’ve got a lot of questions from around the country about what worked here.”

“We’ve created a model so powerful, along with our officers," he said.  "Chicago saw 22 percent less shooting and 16 percent less murders in 2017 compared to 2016.”

The drop in shootings mostly came from six problem districts that are now equipped with Strategic Decision Support Centers that use technology like the "ShotSpotter" program to detect where shots are being fired, and thousands of cameras to watch over crime-ridden areas.

Merge it with policing and data analysts from the University of Chicago and you have a recipe for improvement.

“We know we had a horrible 2016 but we made some progress in 2017," Johnson said. "And by no means are we celebrating but I think it’s important to acknowledge the progress that we have made.”

Those crime fighting support centers are now inside eight CPD districts, and four more will be added by summer.

Superintendent Johnson says shootings are down 25 percent in those districts.