Chicago Anti-Gang Efforts Make City Streets Safer

gang violence, Chicago violent crime, murder, homicideThe city of Chicago set the record for homicides in 2012 with over 500, and 2013 ended at 415-the lowest total in almost 50 years. However, Chicago homicide rates are still much higher than those of any other city in the U.S. Chicago officials have made it clear that they believe this decline is the result of altering police tactics, as well as the increase of after-school jobs and mentoring for young people.

 The new approach to combating gang violence began with a “gang audit”-a collection of information about specific gangs and their members, which allowed officers to begin to focus on specific gangs and members, as well as quickly locate and arrive at areas where gangs were likely to attack each other.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told The Associated Press, “We identified gang turfs, membership, who’s in conflict with who, put it into a database and put that into the hands of beat officers.”

Chicago’s police department has also taken to providing known gang members with information about social services, sometimes having them meet the parents of murder victims so that they may see the consequences of their actions.

Furthermore, the department also plans to expand their “heat lists” of those people who are likely to kill or be killed as well as send almost 800 newly trained officers out into the streets.

Last month, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk arranged to have federal resources granted to Illinois and the city of Chicago for the use of fighting gangs. The federal bill contained $18.5 million that was used by Illinois law enforcement to fight violent drug gangs. Within the $18.5 million total, $7.5 million went to the U.S. Marshals Service to be used to operate anti-gang investigative units, $8.5 million went towards violent gang and gun crime reduction programs, and $2.5 million to violence education.

Although the city has come a long way in regards to safety, there is still a lot of work to be done. If you or someone you know has been charged with a violent crime or with participating in a gang, do not be afraid to contact an Illinois criminal attorney to assist you in preparing the best defense possible.

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