Chicago police get high-tech to fight area gangs - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago police get high-tech to fight area gangs

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

This week the Superintendent Garry McCarthy launched what he is calling the Gang Violence Reduction Strategy.

It's a system that will help police do more than just react to the shootings and killings that have put the city in the national spotlight this summer. It coordinates and streamlines gang intelligence to help the cops on the street be more proactive, and prevent more violence.

It's a scene that plays out every single night on Chicago's streets; shootings that so far this year have left more than 1,200 people injured and more than 275 people dead.

"We have a guy shot in both legs, both ankle shots," Commander Leo Schmitz, 7th District, said.

A majority of the shootings are gang related. It's a scourge that has become a top priority for police.

While detectives working this shooting round up information the old fashioned way, talking to witnesses, other officers working behind the scenes are digging up information in the newly complied Gang Audit database.

"They're running the names right now, it's going to pop, if they're gang related, if they've ever been arrested and associated with gangs we're going to have that information now, it's going to pop on the system that we have," Schmitz said.

That system, a continually updated police database, is the newest tool in the battle against gang violence.

"So we can quickly assess conditions, we can make predictions about where retaliations might likely happen," Commander Jonathan Lewis said.

And that is what police see as one very important way to curtail the vendettas that usually follow a shooting: the retaliation that keeps escalating the problem, and on countless occasions leaves innocent bystanders the victims caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Superintendent's Gang Violence Reduction Strategy uses a pioneering computer system that tracks 100-thousand known gang members in Chicago.

"Very quickly you can determine if that person is part of a gang if they are, which gang is on conflict with that gang, who their rivals might be, who their other associates might be who are part of that faction," Lewis said.

Chicago police have identified 625 different street gangs and factions. There are 223 known ongoing disputes resulting from drug deals and turf battles. It's all compiled and cross referenced and interactive, and available for the cops on the streets. Its real time intelligence aimed at making a big-time difference.

"This is a combination of supporting old-school policing techniques and the intuition of beat officers and gang officers but facilitating a vast amount of information that no human being could process," Lewis said.

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