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Rahm Emanuel Pushes For Tougher Gang Law As Chicago Murder Rate Remains High

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Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. | AP

As Chicago violence spikes, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants the Illinois state legislature to advance a bill that would allow gang members to be hit with federal-style racketeering charges.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) was already approved, with bipartisan support, by the state House in 2010, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The state Senate will next consider the bill, which has been narrowed to focus on gang activity. If passed, the new law would green light lengthy prison sentences between 10 and 30 years and fines of up to $250,000 for anyone convicted of being involved directly or indirectly in violent or drug-related gang activity, according to the Sun-Times.

The push comes in the midst of Emaunel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy's call for a new, comprehensive anti-gang strategy it hopes will help curb crime. The city has seen a slew of shootings every weekend since early March and, this year through April 1, murders citywide have risen 60 percent over the same period last year.

"Our streets are for our children and for our law-abiding parents," Emanuel said last month on the heels of a violent weekend that claimed the lives of 10 and injured dozens more. "Our streets do not belong to gang bangers."

The mayor and McCarthy late last month touted two large busts of alleged gang members on the city's West Side, WBEZ reports. City police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration charged 45 people with drug offenses as part of the "takedown."

McCarthy previously announced a planned audit of the gang databases to cross-reference intelligence and better predict gang action by looking for patterns between individual behavior, turf overlaps and ongoing feuds.

WATCH Emanuel and McCarthy discuss gang violence last month on WTTW's Chicago Tonight:

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