"We're not going to arrest our way out of these problems," says Dennis Rosenbaum, director of the Center for Research in Law and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. But force may be necessary, he notes: Chicago's dense concentration of "poverty and gangs and guns and drug markets" requires "a sizable and specialized response" such as increased SWAT teams and gang units.
Although violence has flared in the city this spring, it's worth noting that over a 10-year period, homicides in Chicago are actually down. Between 1999 and 2009, homicides fell 29 percent. In addition, emphasizes Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis, this season's problem is not widespread. It's concentrated in less than 9 percent of all city blocks.
But the problems that cost the 20-month-old her life this spring are deep. Some critics of the police are zeroing in on the number of officers, saying that Chicago is woefully behind comparable major cities in fortifying police ranks.
Union president Mark Donahue is pressing for more officers on the streets. "Without having the proper resources and proper personnel, your response time is going to be slower, and your proactive police presence in the neighborhoods is going to be less," he says.