Memorial Day weekend was a deadly one for the city of Chicago. Ten people were killed and 43 were shot over the long weekend. This is a marked increase from last year, when four were killed on the holiday weekend. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced city police will be focusing more on gangs in an effort to reduce gun violence in the city.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, police will be focusing more on businesses that are known “trouble spots,” those that may attract gang activity and have been identified. So far, since April, the city has identified 30 different businesses, including liquor stores, which are sort of hot spots for criminal activity.
In addition, the police plan on “tracking known gang members via Twitter and Facebook.” Everyone, including violent gang members, are using social media sites to connect. By tracking what is largely public information, police hope they can keep an eye on the gangsters without ever even leaving the precinct.
Sometimes police have difficulty identifying when a crime is gang related. Just because one party in an offense is a known gang member, doesn’t mean the criminal act is related to their connections.
Of the ten murders over Memorial Day weekend, at least six were said to be gang related.
“It’s speculation,” says James Alan Fox, criminology professor at Northeastern University in Boston. “But what we can do is identify neighborhoods where homicides occur as those that tend to be where gangs flourish. Not all these homicides are gang-related, but it’s clear some of them are.”
Though homicides are up this year from last year at this time, officials caution that such statistics can be misleading. If crime fell dramatically last year, a slight increase this year might not be as dramatic as it looks at first blush.
“Chicago has developed a national reputation for testing new ways to combat gang violence,” says the Christian Science Monitor. And as a city where gang violence is a problem, the people are fortunate to have a police department dedicated to staying on the cutting edge of gang enforcement.
Despite this dedication, however, Arthur Lurigio, a criminal justice professor with Loyola University, says the city must treat homicide numbers and violence in general as a public health issue.
Lurigio may be right, that treating violence at its cause is the only way to reduce it overtime. But this won’t stop law enforcement and the courts from punishing it severely on the back end.
If you are accused of a violent crime, you can expect to face serious penalties if convicted. By working with a local defense lawyer, you may be able to lessen these penalties or walk away from the charges unscathed.
Contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help.