Gang violence reduction strategy focuses on accountability - FOX 32 News Chicago

Gang violence reduction strategy focuses on accountability, deterrence

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago's murder rate is 50 percent higher than last year, and the police superintendent is pointing to gangs as the major reason.

Forty people were shot and wounded in Chicago over the holiday weekend, and ten others were gunned down and died.

After studying turfs and how each gang operates, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said those gangs are a major denominator in Chicago's rising homicide rate.

"The South Side gangs are different from the West Side gangs which are different from the Latin gangs," McCarthy said. "On the West Side much of it is about drugs on the South Side it's about turf and on the Latin fronts it's about a front on each other's gang."

McCarthy also said it's not easy to fight 59 separate gangs spread across the city.

The police department's new gang violence reduction strategy will use high tech cameras and maps to monitor each gang. When there's beef between rival gangs, the McCarthy said it's best for his officers to be pro-active.

He and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a gang-reduction and neighborhood safety strategy late Tuesday morning.

These strategies will be used to stop gang related violence. The city of Chicago has taken a more vigorous approach by targeting businesses that carry and liquor in a convenience store setting.

Emanuel believes "reducing gang related violence is key to driving down overall crime in Chicago and the new integrated approach is designed to address our city's unique gang problem and uses every asset at our disposal to keep our neighborhoods safe."

The Gang Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) will include gang audits, focused deterrence, group accountability, and moral community message/social service providers. This plan will utilize the Chicago Police Department's Deployment Operations Center (DOC) and Crime Prevention and Information Center (C.P.I.C).

"This is the first comprehensive strategy to defeat the violence associated with gangs, streamlining intelligence, communication and resources across bureaus and within the community," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. "This strategy is multi-faceted and does not rely solely on arrests for combating the unique gang issue in Chicago."

The GVRS is targeting liquor and convenience stores that serve as conduits for criminal activity, the city has began using data from multiple enforcement departments, including Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), Chicago Police Department (CPD), Streets & Sanitation (DSS), Public Health (CDPH) 311 and Buildings, to find trends in complaints about liquor and convenience stores.

"I do not want kids in the city of Chicago walking by liquor stores or into liquor stores as if they're a convenience store," Emanuel said.

Since this process began in April, four liquor establishments have had their licenses revoked and have been shut down. Another 15 businesses have been reported and are subject to revocation.

"Businesses serve as anchors in their communities, but some serve as conduits for criminal activity, and those are the businesses that we are targeting," the mayor said. "Whether you are a problem business, a violent street corner, or a known drug market, we will go after you."

The BACP has also identified 30 businesses that are now on the problem business watch list. These establishments will be subject to increased inspections from all City departments.

Chicago's top cop was praised for getting in front of the violence against protestors during the NATO summit.

Some who live in Chicago neighborhoods where gunshots ring out all the time in the summer, said that same action and show of force should be used to save their streets - and children.

"We're suffering, we really are," area resident Jan Jamison said, "and our mayor really needs to take a look at that as strongly as he took a stand on the NATO. He needs to take a stand on the crime in our community."

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