Last weekend was a particularly bloody one in the city of Chicago. Thirty-seven shootings and nine murders occurred, and gangs were blamed for nearly all of them. One victim was a 6-year old girl who was playing out on her Little Village front porch when she was killed. As a result, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has vowed a hardened attack against gangs in the city.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Emanuel expects more than just “We have an anti-gang unit,” from the police department. Instead, he wants a comprehensive strategy designed to facilitate major changes and break down the system of gang violence.
In the Little Village child’s murder, two teenaged gang members are charged with murder. In another shooting that happened last weekend, a young gangster shot a police officer after being confronted on a curfew violation.
Emanuel has turned to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to institute changes and a strategic plan of attack.
According to McCarthy, police officers in 10 of the city’s most violent neighborhoods will get printed “gang audit” reports detailing who in those communities are active gang members and which blocks are controlled by which gangs. The hope is that eventually, all of this information will be available in patrol cars. These audits will be conducted on all of the city’s districts at some point, but the city is starting in the areas where the attention is needed most.
Another change is that tactical officers will not leave their districts to do other details, like patrolling parades or going where the extra staff is needed. Instead, gang officers will be expected to work within their district unless they receive explicit approval from McCarthy or his deputy superintendent.
The police will also try to document where and when gang conflicts are happening, will work to investigate what leads up to these violent shootings, and work with the courts and prosecutors to determine which laws are being underutilized in the fight against gangs and whether new legislation is needed.
In his press conference, Mayor Emanuel called on city residents to actually care about the violence regardless of which neighborhood it was happening in.
“I understand the comfort that comes with, ‘It didn’t happen in my neighborhood.’ But, it happened in your city and any child who is a victim of violence because they were on the front porch is a tear at the city’s fabric.”
The city cracks down hard on suspected gang members already, and it will only get worse for those people suspected of associating with these gangs. If you are charged with a crime and accused of being in a gang, you can expect the prosecutor to have little sympathy. Contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help.